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Foley, Thomas S. (06 March 1929–18 October 2013), speaker of the US House of Representatives and US Ambassador to Japan, was born in Spokane, Washington, to Ralph Foley, a county prosecutor and later a Superior Court judge whose reputation for fairness and integrity made a lasting impression on the young Tom, and Helen Higgins, a teacher, both of Irish Catholic background. Tom Foley and his younger sister, Maureen, grew up in a household that staunchly supported ...


George F. Kennan. George Kennan, former ambassador to the Soviet Union, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left, testifying in front of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Feb. 10 1966. Photograph by Warren K. Leffler. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ds-07025).


Kennan, George F. (16 February 1904–17 March 2005), diplomat and historian, was born George Frost Kennan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Florence James and Kossuth Kent Kennan, a tax attorney who was fifty-two years old at the time. Tragically his mother died of a burst appendix two months after his birth, and he was team-raised by his father, several aunts, and a stepmother who displayed little affection for him. George attended the Fourth Street School in Milwaukee, where swift progress allowed him to skip eighth grade. His father then moved him to St John’s Military School, which was a difficult experience for the quiet and introverted boy. He enrolled at Princeton University in 1921 and graduated in 1925. Kennan later said that “Princeton had prepared my mind for further growth. It had not stimulated in that mind any great latitude of curiosity” (...