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Abbot, Gorham Dummer (1807-1874), educator of women and clergyman  

Patrick G. Williams

Abbot, Gorham Dummer (03 September 1807–03 August 1874), educator of women and clergyman, was born in Brunswick, Maine, the son of “Squire” Jacob Abbot, a land trustee and sometime merchant, and his wife and second cousin, Betsey Abbot. Gorham Abbot grew up in the nearby town of Hallowell and, like his four brothers, graduated from Bowdoin College (A.B., 1826; A.M., 1829) and studied at Andover Theological Seminary. All of the Abbot brothers became teachers and clergymen, the two eldest, ...


Abbott, Edith (1876-1957), social reformer, social work educator, and author  

Kathleen Banks Nutter

Abbott, Edith (26 September 1876–28 July 1957), social reformer, social work educator, and author, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, the daughter of Othman Ali Abbott, a lawyer and first lieutenant governor of Nebraska, and Elizabeth Maletta Griffin, a woman suffrage advocate. Abbott grew up in a comfortable and politically progressive household on the American prairie. However, the severe economic depression that began in 1893 caused Abbott to postpone her college plans after graduation from an Omaha girls’ boarding school. Instead, at the age of seventeen she became a teacher at the Grand Island High School....


Abbott, Grace (1878-1939), social worker and administrator  

Julie Longo and Sandra F. VanBurkleo

Abbott, Grace (17 November 1878–19 June 1939), social worker and administrator, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, the daughter of Othman Ali Abbott, a lawyer and politician, and Elizabeth Griffin, a high school principal. The Abbott household provided an intellectually stimulating environment, emphasizing reading, discussion, and formal education for all four children. Othman Abbott encouraged both Grace and her older sister ...


Cover Abbott, Grace (1878-1939)
Grace Abbott Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111723).


Abernathy, Ralph David (1926-1990), civil rights leader and minister  

Kenneth H. Williams

Abernathy, Ralph David (11 March 1926–17 April 1990), civil rights leader and minister, was born David Abernathy in Linden, Alabama, the son of William L. Abernathy and Louivery Valentine Bell, farmers. A sister’s favorite professor was the inspiration for the nickname “Ralph David,” and although Abernathy never made a legal change, the name remained with him from age twelve....


Cover Abernathy, Ralph David (1926-1990)
Ralph Abernathy Photograph by Warren K. Leffler, 1968. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (U.S. News and World Report Collection: LC-U9-19265).


Abzug, Bella (1920-1998), lawyer, feminist leader, and U.S. representative  

Edward L. Lach Jr.

Abzug, Bella (24 July 1920–31 March 1998), lawyer, feminist leader, and U.S. representative, was born Bella Savitsky in the Bronx, New York, the daughter of Emmanuel Savitsky, butcher, and Ester Tanklefsky Savitsky. She attended local schools before entering Hunter College in Manhattan, where she took part in student government and was active in the Zionist movement. She entered Columbia University Law School following her graduation in 1942 but soon left school and took a wartime job in a shipyard. She married Martin Abzug, a writer who later became a stockbroker, in 1944; the couple had two daughters. Abzug returned to Columbia and served as editor of the ...


Cover Abzug, Bella (1920-1998)
Bella Abzug. Campaign poster. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109588).


Adamic, Louis (1899-1951), writer  

June Granatir Alexander

Adamic, Louis (23 March 1899–04 September 1951), writer, was born in Blato, Carniola (modern-day Slovenia), the son of Anton Adamic, a peasant landholder, and Ana Adamic (a distant relative of Anton). Adamic spent four years at a local school and one at a primary school before advancing to a Gymnasium in Ljubljana. After completing two years there, his involvement in a nationalist demonstration led to his expulsion in 1913. Resisting his parents’ wishes that he enter a Jesuit seminary to study for the priesthood, Adamic immigrated to the United States in December 1913. He first worked in the mail room of a Slovene American newspaper in New York and in 1916 became an editorial assistant. After the paper ceased publication later that year, Adamic had several manual labor jobs. In 1917 he enlisted in the army and the following year became a naturalized citizen. Discharged in 1920, he drifted and finally in December 1922 arrived in California, where he worked as a day laborer and then as a reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper. Unhappy with the hectic life of a journalist, he quit in June 1923, found a job as a dock worker, and then became a port pilots’ clerk. The position allowed the aspiring author time to write. Adamic’s early publications were primarily translations of Slavic works, but by the mid-1920s he was producing a wide range of original items for Haldeman-Julius publications (see ...


Adams, Ansel (1902-1984), photographer and environmentalist  

William A. Turnage

Adams, Ansel (20 February 1902–22 April 1984), photographer and environmentalist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Charles Hitchcock Adams, a businessman, and Olive Bray. The grandson of a wealthy timber baron, Adams grew up in a house set amid the sand dunes of the Golden Gate. When Adams was only four, an aftershock of the great earthquake and fire of 1906 threw him to the ground and badly broke his nose, distinctly marking him for life. A year later the family fortune collapsed in the financial panic of 1907, and Adams’s father spent the rest of his life doggedly but fruitlessly attempting to recoup....


Adams, Brooks (1848-1927), historian  

David Quigley

Adams, Brooks (24 June 1848–13 February 1927), historian, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Francis Adams, a U.S. congressman and ambassador to Great Britain, and Abigail Brown Brooks. Educated in England during the American Civil War, he returned home in 1865, entered Harvard College the following year, and graduated in 1870 in spite of being convicted of plagiarism. After studying at Harvard Law School in 1870 and 1871, Adams joined his father in Geneva, Switzerland, to work on the Alabama Claims Arbitration, settling maritime claims arising from Civil War raiding. After some travel around Europe, he returned to Boston and opened a law practice. His main interest throughout the 1870s was reform politics. In Boston’s Commonwealth Club and in articles for the ...


Adams, Henry (1838-1918), historian, novelist, and critic  

David R. Contosta

Adams, Henry (16 February 1838–27 March 1918), historian, novelist, and critic, was born Henry Brooks Adams in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Francis Adams, a diplomat, legislator, and writer, and Abigail Brooks. He enjoyed unparalleled advantages, chief among them his famous name and many family connections: he was the great-grandson of President ...


Adams, James Truslow (1878-1949), historian  

Charles Forcey

Adams, James Truslow (18 October 1878–18 May 1949), historian, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William Newton Adams, Jr., a disappointed stockbroker, and Elizabeth Harper Truslow. Adams attended the Brooklyn Polytechnic School for both his secondary and his college education, earning a B.A. in 1898. He was president of his class, valedictorian, and class poet. He then began graduate work in philosophy at Yale University but quit, bored, after a few months. Nevertheless, as was common then, he received an M.A. in 1900 for a fee of ten dollars....


Adams, John Quincy (1848-1922), newspaper editor and publisher, civil rights leader, and Republican party activist  

Wilbert H. Ahern

Adams, John Quincy (04 May 1848–03 September 1922), newspaper editor and publisher, civil rights leader, and Republican party activist, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Henry Adams, a prominent minister and educator, and Margaret Corbin. Both his parents were free persons of color. Following private schooling in Wisconsin and Ohio, Adams graduated from Oberlin College. After a brief teaching stint in Louisville, in 1870 he followed his uncle, Joseph C. Corbin, to work in Arkansas in the Reconstruction. By 1874 he had risen from schoolteacher to assistant superintendent of public instruction. His lifelong activism in the Republican party began in Arkansas; there he twice served as secretary to Republican state conventions, was elected as justice of the peace on the party ticket, and held the offices of engrossing clerk of the state senate and deputy commissioner of public works. The defeat of the Arkansas Republican party in 1874 and the racial repression that followed led Adams to return to Louisville, where he again engaged in teaching....


Adamson, Joy (1910-1980), writer and conservationist  

Emily A. Haddad

Adamson, Joy (20 January 1910–03 January 1980), writer and conservationist, was born Friederike Viktoria Gessner in Troppau, Austria, the daughter of Victor Gessner, a civil servant, and Traute Greipel. Before her first marriage, to automobile company official Viktor von Klarwill in 1935, Adamson studied piano and took courses in other arts, including sculpture. She made her first trip to Kenya in 1936, to investigate that country as a possible new home for herself and her husband, whose Jewish background made him eager to leave Austria at this time of Nazi advance. During this trip she became involved with Peter Bally, a Swiss botanist whom she married in 1938 after becoming divorced from von Klarwill in 1937....


Addams, Jane (06 September 1860–21 May 1935), social reformer and peace activist  

Victoria Bissell Brown

Addams, Jane (06 September 1860–21 May 1935), social reformer and peace activist, was the daughter of John Huy Addams, a businessman and Republican politician, and Sarah Weber. Born on the eve of the Civil War in the small farming community of Cedarville, just outside Freeport, in northern Illinois, she was the youngest of five children, four of whom were girls. Her mother died during pregnancy when Jane was two years old. The Addams family was the wealthiest, most respected family in the community. Jane’s father owned the local grain mill, was president of the Second National Bank of Freeport, had interests in a local railroad and a local insurance company, taught Sunday School, and was active in local Bible societies. A founding member of the Republican party and supporter of ...


Cover Addams, Jane (06 September 1860–21 May 1935)

Addams, Jane (06 September 1860–21 May 1935)  


Jane Addams. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95722).


Adie, David Craig (1888-1943), social worker  

Sandra Opdycke

Adie, David Craig (03 September 1888–23 February 1943), social worker, was born in Hamilton, Scotland, the son of Lawrence Adie, a railway passenger agent, and Madeline Cooper. Raised in poverty, Adie attended school in Edinburgh but left at an early age to apprentice as a bookbinder. By the time he was twenty he had joined the Independent Labor Union and had begun working on the Clydeside as an organizer, campaigning from town to town on his bicycle. During these years he developed a rousing style of public speaking through both his union work and his service as a Methodist lay preacher. A voracious reader, Adie learned everything he could about America, and in 1913 he sailed for Canada....


Adler, Felix (1851-1933), religious and social reformer  

Henry Warner Bowden

Adler, Felix (13 August 1851–24 April 1933), religious and social reformer, was born in Alzey, Germany, the son of Henrietta Frankfurter and Samuel Adler, a rabbi. At the age of six he came with the family to the United States when his father accepted an invitation to become rabbi of the Temple Emanuel in New York City. After attending public and private schools, he entered Columbia College, graduating in 1870. Plans for him to succeed his father as rabbi sent Adler to Europe, where he studied theology, philosophy, and linguistics under the tutelage of Abraham Geiger and Heymann Steinthal at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums in Berlin. Alongside that work he also attended courses on philosophy, particularly Kantian ethics, and economics, especially the questions of labor and social reform, at the University of Berlin. In 1873 he received a Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg and returned home to take up rabbinical duties. Those plans collapsed within the year because Adler had come to reject both theism and the divine origin of Hebrew Scriptures. After an amicable parting with Temple Emanuel, Adler lectured on Hebrew and Oriental literature at Cornell University from 1874 to 1876. In 1880 he married Helen Goldmark, and the couple had a family of five children....


Albert, Eddie (1906-2005), actor and environmental activist  

Edward L. Lach, Jr.

Albert, Eddie (22 April 1906–26 May 2005), actor and environmental activist, was born Edward Albert Heimberger in Rock Island, Illinois, the son of Frank Daniel Heimberger, a realtor, and Julia Jones. At the age of one his family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he attended parochial school before graduating from Central High School in 1924. He then entered the University of Minnesota where he majored in business and worked his way up to manager at the local theater. Young Eddie left school without graduating and worked a series of odd jobs before joining a singing trio that appeared on the local radio station. Tired of hearing his name mangled as “hamburger” he changed it to Eddie Albert, and after successfully auditioning at NBC he moved to New York with partner Grace Bradt to star in ...