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Alexander, De Alva Stanwood (17 July 1845–30 January 1925), congressman and historian, was born in Richmond, Maine, the son of Stanwood Alexander and Priscilla Brown. When his father died in 1852, Alexander and his mother moved to Ohio, where he lived until his enlistment, at the age of sixteen, in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. After the war he completed his education at the Edward Little Institute in Auburn, Maine, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1870. He later served for several years on Bowdoin’s board of overseers. In 1871 he married Alice Colby; their childless union ended with her death in 1890....

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Albert J. Beveridge Photograph by Louis Fabian Bachrach, 1922. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-89794).

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Beveridge, Albert Jeremiah (06 October 1862–27 April 1927), U.S. senator and historian, was born in Highland County, Ohio, the son of Thomas Beveridge and Frances Parkinson, farmers. The family moved to Illinois when Beveridge was a child. Because of his father’s financial difficulties, Beveridge worked as a plowboy, railroad section hand, logger, and teamster. He attended Asbury College (now DePauw University), graduating in 1885. He made his mark there in oratory, and he had a reputation throughout his life as a spellbinding public speaker. He was admitted to the bar in 1887. He married Katherine Langsdale that same year; she died in 1900. He married Catherine Eddy in 1907; they had two children....

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Bruce, William Cabell (12 March 1860–09 May 1946), author, municipal politician, reformer, and U.S. senator, was born at “Staunton Hill,” his father’s plantation, in Charlotte County, Virginia, the son of Charles Bruce, a planter, Virginia state senator, and captain during the Civil War, and Sarah Alexander Seddon, both members of established, affluent families in Virginia. Although the Bruce family lost much of their wealth during the Civil War, William still grew up surrounded by maids, servants, tailors, and tutors. Bruce’s mother, a devout Christian, instilled in William strong religious beliefs that influenced his character throughout his formative years....

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Burdick, Usher Lloyd (21 February 1879–19 August 1960), author, educator, and legislator, was born in Owatonna, Minnesota, the son of Ozias Burdick and Lucy Farnum, farmers. In 1882 the family settled in Graham’s Island in the Dakota Territory, where Burdick attended local public schools and learned the Sioux Indian language and customs. Following his graduation from the State Normal School at Mayville, North Dakota, in 1900, he worked for two years as deputy superintendent of schools in Benson County, North Dakota. In 1901 he married Emma Rassmussen, and they had two sons and a daughter. Frustrated by local politics, Burdick changed career objectives and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he taught in a business college while attending the University of Minnesota’s law program, from which he graduated in 1904. He also played football at the university, which won the Big Ten championships in 1903 and 1904. After graduating he returned to Munich, North Dakota, where he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law....

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Dennett, Tyler Wilbur (13 June 1883–29 December 1949), historian, government official, and college president, was born in Spencer, Wisconsin, the son of William Eugene Dennett, a Baptist preacher, and Roxena Tyler. He attended a small school in Pascaog, Rhode Island, where his parents moved shortly after he was born, and then the Friends School in Providence. His higher education included one year at Bates College in Maine and three years at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he was a scholarship student, edited the school paper, and played football....

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English, William Hayden (27 August 1822–07 February 1896), congressman, vice presidential candidate, and historian, was born in Lexington, Indiana, the son of Elisha G. English and Mahala Eastin. Elisha, a landowner and railroad vice president, was a Democrat who served in the Indiana legislature for nearly twenty years and was friends with many important politicians. William benefited from his father’s contacts and status and was influenced by his views....

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Ford, Guy Stanton (09 May 1873–29 December 1962), historian, editor, and academic administrator, was born in Liberty Corners, Salem Township, Wisconsin, the son of Thomas D. Ford, a medical doctor, and Helen E. Shumway, a teacher. During Guy’s early childhood, his father’s drinking and business failures forced his mother, with her two sons, to move in with a series of relatives, eventually leading them to Sutherland, Iowa, in 1883. Shortly thereafter his father moved to Plainfield, Iowa, a town of about 300 people. In 1884 the family reunited in Plainfield. Thomas Ford was an extremely impractical man and the family lived in relative poverty throughout Guy’s years in Plainfield....

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Greenhow, Robert (1800–27 March 1854), government servant and historian, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Robert Greenhow, a merchant, and Mary Ann Wills. Greenhow graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1816 and from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in 1821. After further medical study abroad, he practiced medicine in New York City from 1825 to 1828, when he took up a position as a translator and librarian at the Department of State in Washington. Among his responsibilities was preparation of historical works on diplomatic issues. He wrote ...

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Hammond, Jabez Delano (02 August 1778–18 August 1855), politician and historian, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of Jabez Hammond and Priscilla Delano. He grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, where he was educated in the common schools. At age fifteen he began teaching school, and, after becoming eligible through a brief apprenticeship, began a medical practice in Reading, Vermont. Dissatisfied with the medical profession for unknown reasons, Hammond sought to improve his fortune in New York, moving to Newburgh and reading law in Jonathan Fiske’s office while supporting himself as a schoolmaster. Admitted to the bar in 1805, the young lawyer pursued further opportunity in the Susquehanna Valley in the town of Cherry Valley, building “within a short time a reputable and profitable legal practice” and entering politics....

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Henry Cabot Lodge Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-89796).

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Lodge, Henry Cabot (12 May 1850–09 November 1924), senator and historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Ellerton Lodge, a wealthy merchant and shipowner, and Anna Cabot. He graduated from Harvard College in 1871 and on that day married Anna “Nannie” Davis, daughter of a naval officer; they had three children....

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John Roy Lynch. Albumen silver print, c. 1883, by Charles Milton Bell. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Lynch, John Roy (10 September 1847–02 November 1939), U.S. congressman, historian, and attorney, was born on “Tacony” plantation near Vidalia, Louisiana, the son of Patrick Lynch, the manager of the plantation, and Catherine White, a slave. Patrick Lynch, an Irish immigrant, purchased his wife and two children, but in order to free them, existing state law required they leave Louisiana. Before Patrick Lynch died, he transferred the titles to his wife and children to a friend, William Deal, who promised to treat them as free persons. However, when Patrick Lynch died, Deal sold the family to a planter, Alfred W. Davis, in Natchez, Mississippi. When Davis learned of the conditions of the transfer to Deal, he agreed to allow Catherine Lynch to hire her own time while he honeymooned with his new wife in Europe. Under this arrangement, Catherine Lynch lived in Natchez, worked for various employers, and paid $3.50 a week to an agent of Davis, keeping whatever else she earned....

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Marshall, Humphrey (1760–26 June 1841), senator and historian of Kentucky, was born near Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of John Marshall and Mary Quisenberry, farmers. He received his education from family and private tutors at home and at the neighboring plantation of his uncle Thomas Marshall, the father of Chief Justice ...

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McGovern, George Stanley (19 July 1922–21 October 2012), historian, Senator, and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, was born in Avon, South Dakota, a prairie town with a population of fewer than six hundred. His father, Joseph McGovern, was a Methodist pastor of Scotch-Irish descent, and his mother, Frances McLean McGovern, was a Canadian of Scottish heritage from Alberta. When he was six years old McGovern’s family moved to the small city of Mitchell in southeastern South Dakota, where he attended high school and college, enrolling at Dakota Wesleyan University in 1940. McGovern took leave from his studies during World War II to serve in the Army Air Corps. He flew dozens of bombing missions over Central Europe and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1943 McGovern married Eleanor Stegeberg, an identical twin from the farm town of Woonsocket, South Dakota, whom he met in college; the couple had five children. McGovern graduated from Dakota Wesleyan in 1946 and earned his Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in 1953. His dissertation was a landmark study of the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913–1914, the bloodiest labor dispute in American history....

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Miller, David Hunter (02 January 1875–21 July 1961), lawyer, State Department official, and historian, was born in New York City, the son of Walter Thomas Miller, a stockbroker and a member of the New York cotton exchange, and Christiana Wylie. He was educated in private and public schools in New York. Soon after the United States declared war with Spain, Miller enlisted in the Ninth New York Volunteers, serving in the army from May to November 1898. After his military service he began working in his father’s brokerage. In 1900 he married Sarah Whipple Simmons; they had no children. In 1904 he decided to prepare himself for a legal career and entered the New York Law School, where he earned an LL.B. in 1910 and an LL.M. the next year. Admitted to the New York bar, he began the general practice of law....

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Murphy, Henry Cruse (05 July 1810–01 December 1882), lawyer, U.S. congressman, and historical scholar, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of John G. Murphy, a skilled mechanic, and Clarissa Runyon. Murphy attended Columbia University, graduating in 1830, and studied law. In 1833 he married Amelia Greenwood; they had two children....

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Richardson, James Daniel (10 March 1843–24 July 1914), congressman, was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of John Watkins Richardson, a physician and state legislator, and Augusta Mary Starnes. After attending local schools, he pursued studies at Franklin College near Nashville but withdrew before earning a degree to enlist in the Confederate army as a private. Richardson served throughout the duration of the Civil War, participating in the battles of Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro (Stones River), Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. He left military service in 1865 as adjutant of the Forty-fifth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. In 1865 he married Alabama Pippin; they raised five children....