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Bowers, Claude Gernade (20 November 1878–21 January 1958), journalist, diplomat, and historian, was born in Westfield, Indiana, the son of Lewis Bowers, a storekeeper, and Juliet Tipton, a milliner and dressmaker. Reared in rural communities in central Indiana, Claude moved to Indianapolis with his divorced mother when he was thirteen. He was a voracious reader and became a confirmed Democrat while at Indianapolis High School. In 1898 Bowers graduated and also won the state oratorical contest but was unable to attend college for lack of funds. Instead he worked for the publishing firm that later became the Bobbs-Merrill Company. In 1900 Bowers became the major editorial writer for the ...

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Bruce, John Edward (22 February 1856–07 August 1924), journalist and historian, was born in Piscataway, Maryland, the son of Martha Allen Clark and Robert Bruce, who were both enslaved Africans. In 1859 Major Harvey Griffin, Robert Bruce’s slaveholder, sold him to a Georgia slaveholder. Raised by his mother, Bruce lived in Maryland until 1861 when Union troops marching through Maryland freed him and his mother, taking them to Washington, D.C., where Bruce lived until 1892. In 1865 Bruce’s mother worked as a domestic in Stratford, Connecticut, where Bruce received his early education in an integrated school. One year later they returned to Washington, where Bruce continued his education. Although he did not complete high school, he enrolled in a course at Howard University in 1872. Bruce married Lucy Pinkwood, an opera singer from Washington, D.C. They had no children. In 1895 Bruce married Florence Adelaide Bishop, with whom he had one child....

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Davis, Samuel Post (04 April 1850–17 March 1918), journalist, author, and historian, was born in Branford, Connecticut, the son of the Reverend George R. Davis, an Episcopalian priest, and Sylvia Nichols. As Davis’s father accepted different pulpits, the family moved to Ansonia, Connecticut; Newark, New Jersey; and Racine, Wisconsin. In Racine, Samuel attended the Racine College private school but apparently did not complete the secondary curriculum. He accompanied his parents when they subsequently moved to Brownsville, Nebraska, then to Nevada City, California, and finally to Carson City, Nevada....

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Fall, Bernard B. (19 November 1926–21 February 1967), war correspondent, historian, and educator, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Leon Fall, a businessman, and Anna Seligman. After the German seizure of Austria in 1938, Bernard was taken to France. His parents perished during World War II—his father was executed by the Germans for resistance activity, and his mother was deported to Germany, where she disappeared. In November 1942, following the Nazi occupation of southern France, Fall joined the Resistance, fought in the Alps, and was twice wounded. During the Liberation, he enlisted in the French regular army and served for the duration of the war. He was later awarded the Medal of Liberated France for his valor....

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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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Marshall, S. L. A. (18 July 1900–17 December 1977), soldier, reporter, and historian, was born Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall in Catskill, New York, the son of Caleb Carey Marshall, a bricklayer, and Alice Medora Beeman. The family moved in 1912 to Niles, California, and Samuel, at age twelve, was involved in Hollywood productions as a child extra. He worked in Western Essanay Studio productions, including the ...

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Middleton, Drew (14 October 1913–10 January 1990), journalist and author, was born in New York City, the son of Elmer Thomas Middleton, a businessman, and Jean Drew. His mother died in the influenza epidemic of 1918, and he was raised primarily by his grandmother, theatrical producer Isabel Drew, in New York City and South Orange, New Jersey. Middleton attended high school in South Orange before entering Syracuse University, where he was sports editor of the college newspaper, the ...

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Allan Nevins [left to right] Henry Steele Commager and Alan Nevins, 1963. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-120403).

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Nevins, Allan (20 May 1890–05 March 1971), journalist and historian, was born Joseph Allan Nevins on a farm near Camp Point, Illinois, the son of Joseph Allan Nevins, a farmer, and Emma Stahl, a former schoolteacher. Although he attended the local country school, Nevins received his most meaningful education at home from his parents. A sober-minded Calvinist, whose extensive personal library of 500 volumes lacked novels and poetry, Nevins’s father required his children to spend their spare hours performing farm chores. At the age of eighteen, Nevins escaped farm drudgery by enrolling at the University of Illinois, where, studying the works that had been denied him as a child, he majored in English literature. His ceaseless industry was a matter of concern for his mentor, Professor ...

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Peel, Robert (06 May 1909–08 January 1992), educator, journalist, historian, and religious scholar, was born in London, the son of Arthur James Peel and Anne Susannah Monk. His mother, a Christian Science practitioner for many years, was a decisive influence. He was also close to his sister Doris Peel (1907-1990), a poet whose writing on spiritual themes attracted a devoted following. He never married....

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Pollard, Edward Alfred (27 February 1831–16 December 1872), journalist and author, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, the son of Richard Pollard, a diplomat, and Paulina Rives. His father was the U.S. chargé d’affaires in Chile from 1834 to 1841. Young Pollard entered Hampden-Sydney College and later transferred to the University of Virginia, from which he graduated in 1849. The next year he began studying law at the College of William and Mary, but he was asked to leave because of his involvement in a prank. Later he traveled extensively in North America, South America, Europe, and the Far East, working as a journalist. In 1858 he became a clerk for the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. While in Washington he married, but the name of his wife, who died soon afterward, is not known....

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Ryan, Cornelius (05 June 1920–23 November 1974), journalist and author, was born Cornelius John Ryan in Dublin, Ireland, the son of John Joseph Ryan and Amelia Clohisey. His grandfather Cornelius Ryan was a journalist, and Ryan noted that “Both their vocations rubbed off on me. As did their names.” He grew up in Dublin, graduating from the Synge Street Christian Brothers School, and then entered the Royal Irish Academy of Music to study the violin. At age sixteen Ryan had mastered the violin, graduated from the last of his formal schooling, and started his own orchestra, the HiLo, which played in Dublin and at nearby country inns. He was stagestruck at this time and took to hanging around the Abbey Theatre; he even submitted some plays, all of which were “emphatically” turned down....

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Salisbury, Harrison Evans (14 November 1908–05 July 1993), journalist and historian, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Percy Pritchard Salisbury, a bag-factory executive, and Georgianna Evans, a writer. In 1925 Salisbury enrolled at the University of Minnesota and became a cub reporter for the campus newspaper. He left school for brief periods in 1928 and in 1929 to earn money as a ...

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Shirer, William Lawrence (23 February 1904–28 December 1993), journalist and historian, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Seward Smith Shirer, an assistant U.S. attorney, and Josephine Tanner. When Shirer’s father died of appendicitis in 1913, finances forced a move to his mother’s family home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Shirer worked as sports editor of the ...

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Ida M. Tarbell Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-7371).

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Tarbell, Ida M. (05 November 1857–06 January 1944), investigative journalist and historian, was born Ida Minerva Tarbell in a log cabin on her maternal grandparents’ farm at Hatch Hollow, Erie County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Franklin Sumner Tarbell, a farmer, carpenter, river pilot, and teacher, and Esther Ann McCullough, a former schoolteacher. In 1860 Franklin Tarbell, who constructed wooden tanks to hold oil, moved with his family to Cherry Run for work in an encampment (later called Rouseville) in the oil fields around Titusville, Pennsylvania....

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White, Theodore H. (06 May 1915–15 May 1986), journalist and author, was born Theodore Harold White in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of David White, a lawyer, and Mary Winkeller. First- and second-generation Jewish immigrants, the Whites struggled financially. In 1931 White’s father died of a heart attack, leaving the family without any source of income. It was to help support his mother, sister, and two brothers that, at sixteen, White first entered the world of journalism by selling newspapers to streetcar passengers....