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Gordy, John Pancoast (21 December 1851–31 December 1908), historian, philosopher, and teacher, was born in Salisbury, Maryland, the son of Elijah Melson Pancoast and Martha Ellen Shepard. Gordy began teaching in public schools in 1868 at the age of seventeen and was named principal of an academy in Farmington, Delaware, in 1871; later, between 1873 and 1875, he served as vice principal of another academy, this one located in Dover, Maryland. Following his graduation in 1878 from Wesleyan University of Pennsylvania, where he had studied logic, psychology, and ethics and specialized in English literature, Gordy began his graduate studies in Europe, receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig in 1884. After his return to the United States he served as professor of philosophy and pedagogy at Ohio University (1886–1896), professor of history and philosophy at Ohio State University (1896–1900), and professor of the history of education and American history at New York University (1901 until his death). In 1884 he married Eugenia Day, with whom he had one daughter....

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Hildreth, Richard (28 June 1807–11 July 1865), journalist, antislavery activist, philosopher, and historian, was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, the son of Hosea Hildreth, a Congregational (later Unitarian) minister and educator, and Sarah McLeod Hildreth. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy, where his father was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. After graduating from Harvard in 1826, he spent a year teaching school in Concord, Massachusetts. This experience inspired his earliest historical writing, ...

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Randall, John Herman, Jr. (14 February 1899–01 December 1980), philosopher, historian, and educator, was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of John Herman Randall, a minister, and Minerva I. Ballard. The family moved to New York City to provide a better education for Randall. After enrolling in Columbia College, he received his A.B. in 1918 and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. The following year he received an M.A. and published his first article, “Instrumentalism and Mythology,” in the ...

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van Heijenoort, Jean (23 July 1912–30 March 1986), logician, historian, and one-time revolutionary, was born Jean Louis Maxime van Heijenoort in Creil, France, the only child of Jean (Jan) Théodore Didier van Heijenoort, an émigré from Delft, Holland, who worked as an artisan, and Charlotte Hélène Balagny, a native of the region. After his father’s death at the beginning of World War I, Jean, who was only two, lived with his aunt while his mother worked as a domestic in a hotel. He grew up next to battlefields in wartime and in harsh postwar circumstances. As an adult he spoke of the profound effects of his father’s death and the deep unhappiness of his childhood. Education was his consolation. Recognized as brilliant by his primary school teachers in Creil, van Heijenoort was encouraged to take the scholarship examinations for the district secondary school in Clermont de l’Oise. Awarded a complete scholarship, from the age of eleven to eighteen he lived as a boarding student at the Collège of Clermont. After the unusual accomplishment of a double baccalaureate in philosophy and mathematics, he went on to the prestigious Lycée Saint Louis in Paris, where he specialized in mathematics....