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Brackenridge, Hugh Henry (1748–25 June 1816), author and judge, was born Hugh Montgomery Breckenridge near Campbeltown, Scotland, the son of William Breckenridge, an impoverished farmer. His mother’s name is unknown, but apparently she was a person of great intellect. Seeking to escape poverty, the family moved to Pennsylvania when Hugh was five, later settling in rural York County. Eventually Hugh changed his middle name to Henry, and he altered the spelling of his last name “because I found the bulk of the same stock spelt it so.”...

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Collens, Thomas Wharton (23 June 1812–03 November 1879), Creole jurist and writer, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of John Wharton Collens and Marie Louise de Tabiteau. Collens’s father was descended from an English officer who had settled in Louisiana in the eighteenth century. His mother was a member of one of the city’s French-speaking, Creole families. Raised in a bilingual, Catholic household of modest means, Collens overcame a limited education during an apprenticeship in the print shop to which he was sent as a youth. By the age of twenty-one he had advanced to the position of associate editor of the ...

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Grant, Robert (24 January 1852–19 May 1940), novelist and jurist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Patrick Grant, a patrician Boston commission merchant, and Charlotte Bordman Rice. Grant later sketched his early life on Beacon Hill in the first chapters of his juvenile novel ...

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Hosmer, Hezekiah Lord (10 December 1814–31 October 1893), judge and author, was born in Hudson, New York, the son of Hezekiah Lord Hosmer and Susan Throop. He was educated in Oxford, New York, and in 1830 moved west to Cleveland, Ohio, to reside with his kinsman John W. Allen, under whose tutelage he read law. Hosmer was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1835 and began the practice of law in Willoughby, later moving to Painesville. Following the onrush of settlers to the Maumee Valley of northwestern Ohio, he moved to Maumee City and then to Perrysburg, where as a young lawyer he rode the circuit of seven or eight counties in northwestern Ohio. It was also during this time that Hosmer began to devote a portion of his time to journalistic pursuits....

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Tourgée, Albion Winegar (02 May 1838–21 May 1905), activist, judge, and author, was born in Williamsfield, Ohio, the son of Valentine Tourgée and Louisa Emma Winegar, farmers. His mother died when Tourgée was five. He grew up both in Kingsville, Ohio, in the Western Reserve, a center of antislavery sentiment, and in Lee, Massachusetts, where he spent two years with an uncle....

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Tyler, Royall (18 July 1757–26 August 1826), author and jurist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Royall Tyler, a prominent merchant and revolutionary patriot, and Mary Steele. He was originally named William Clark Tyler, but in 1772 his mother, widowed the previous year, had his name officially changed to that of his father. Tyler, like his father, attended Harvard, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1776 (and he was awarded one from Yale ...

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Wright, Austin Tappan (20 August 1883–18 September 1931), law professor and author, was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, the son of John Henry Wright, who served as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and Mary Tappan, a novelist. In his youth Wright engaged some of the finest legal minds of his day, attending Harvard College from 1901 to 1905, studying at Oxford from 1906 to 1907, and returning to Massachusetts to graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1908 with an LL.B. During his final year at Cambridge, Wright’s top-ten class standing earned him a position as editor of the ...