Portal:North America/Selected biography

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  1. Add a new Selected article to the next available subpage.
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Nominations[edit]

Feel free to add related Featured biographies to the list, using the above usage. Other articles may be nominated here.

Selected biographies list[edit]

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Teddy Roosevelt, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. He had been the 25th Vice President before becoming President upon the assassination of President William McKinley. Inaugurated at the age of 42, Roosevelt became the youngest President in U.S. history. Within the Republican Party, he was a reformer who sought to bring the party's conservative ideals into the 20th century. He broke with his friend and successor William Howard Taft and ran as a third party candidate in 1912 on the Progressive Party ticket. Before his presidency, Roosevelt served as a New York State assemblyman, Police Commissioner of New York City, U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy. As a colonel, he commanded his famous all-volunteer First U.S. National Cavalry regiment, the "Rough Riders" during the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt also served a successful term as Governor of New York. He was a famous historian and naturalist; his 15 books include works on outdoor life, natural history, U.S. Western and political history, an autobiography and a host of other topics. In his lifetime, he was considered a foremost authority on North American big game animals and Eastern birds.


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Louis Riel

Louis Riel (/ˈli rˈɛl/; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence. He is regarded by many as a Canadian folk hero today.

The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. Riel was forced into exile in the United States as a result of the controversial execution of Thomas Scott during the rebellion. Despite this, he is frequently referred to as the "Father of Manitoba". While a fugitive, he was elected three times to the Canadian House of Commons, although he never assumed his seat. He married in 1881 while in exile in Montana, and fathered two children.


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Charles Magoon

Charles Edward Magoon (December 5, 1861 – January 14, 1920) was an American lawyer, judge, diplomat, and administrator who is best remembered as a governor of the Panama Canal Zone and an occupation governor of Cuba. He was also the subject of several small scandals during his career. Magoon was born in Owatonna, Steele County, Minnesota.

As a legal advisor working for the United States Department of War, he drafted recommendations and reports that were used by Congress and the executive branch in governing the United States' new territories following the Spanish–American War. These reports were collected as a published book in 1902, then considered the seminal work on the subject. During his time as a governor, Magoon worked to put these recommendations into practice.


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Muntz matchbook

Earl William "Madman" Muntz (January 3, 1914 – June 21, 1987) was an American businessman and engineer who sold and promoted cars and consumer electronics in the United States from the 1930s until his death in 1987. He was a pioneer in television commercials with his oddball "Madman" persona – an alter ego who generated publicity with his unusual costumes, stunts, and outrageous claims. Muntz also pioneered car stereos by creating the Muntz Stereo-Pak, better known as the 4-track cartridge, a predecessor to the 8-track cartridge developed by Lear Industries.

He invented the practice that came to be known as Muntzing, which involved simplifying otherwise complicated electronic devices. Muntz produced and marketed the first black-and-white television receivers to sell for less than $100, and created one of the earliest functional widescreen projection TVs. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Detroit News and Los Angeles Times credit him with coining the abbreviation "TV" for television, although the term had earlier been in use in call letters for stations such as WCBS-TV.


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Harold Innis

Harold Adams Innis (November 5, 1894 – November 8, 1952) was a Canadian professor of political economy at the University of Toronto and the author of seminal works on media, communication theory and Canadian economic history. The affiliated Innis College at the University of Toronto is named for him. Despite his dense and difficult prose, many scholars consider Innis one of Canada's most original thinkers. He helped develop the staples thesis, which holds that Canada's culture, political history and economy have been decisively influenced by the exploitation and export of a series of "staples" such as fur, fish, wood, wheat, mined metals and fossil fuels.

Innis's writings on communication explore the role of media in shaping the culture and development of civilizations. He argued, for example, that a balance between oral and written forms of communication contributed to the flourishing of Greek civilization in the 5th century BC. He warned, however, that Western civilization is now imperiled by powerful, advertising-driven media obsessed by "present-mindedness" and the "continuous, systematic, ruthless destruction of elements of permanence essential to cultural activity".


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Washington's Coffee ad from the New York Tribune, June 22, 1919

George Constant Louis Washington (May 1871 – March 29, 1946) was an American inventor and businessman of Anglo-Belgian origin. He is best remembered for his invention of an early instant coffee process and for the company he founded to mass-produce it, the G. Washington Coffee Company.

An emigrant from his native Belgium, he arrived in the New York area in 1897 and dabbled in several technical fields before hitting upon instant coffee manufacture during a sojourn in Central America in 1906 or 1907. He began selling his coffee in 1909 and founded a company to manufacture it in 1910. Based in New York and New Jersey, his company prospered and became an important military supplier during World War I. The company's products were also advertised in New York newspapers and on the radio. The success of his company made Washington wealthy, and he lived in a mansion in Brooklyn and then moved to a country estate in New Jersey in 1927. In that same year, he lost a dispute with the tax authorities. Washington was married and had three children.


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Ina Garten at a book signing

Ina Rosenberg Garten, EYE-nə) (born February 2, 1948) is an American author and host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa. Known for creating fine cuisine foods with an emphasis on quality ingredients and timesaving tips, she has been championed by Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, and Patricia Wells as an authority on cooking and home entertaining.

Garten had no formal training; she taught herself culinary techniques with the aid of French and New England cookbooks. Later, she relied on intuition and feedback from customers and friends to refine her recipes. She was mentored chiefly by Eli Zabar, of Eli's Manhattan and Eli's Breads fame, and domestic maven Stewart. Among her hallmark dishes are cœur à la crème, celery root remoulade, pear clafouti, and a simplified version of bœuf bourguignon. Her culinary career began with her gourmet food store, Barefoot Contessa; Garten parlayed this success into a string of best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded convenience foods, and a popular Food Network television show.


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Hilary Putnam

Hilary Whitehall Putnam (born July 31, 1926) is an American philosopher who has been a central figure in Western philosophy since the 1960s, especially in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science. He is known for his willingness to apply an equal degree of scrutiny to his own philosophical positions as to those of others, subjecting each position to rigorous analysis until he exposes its flaws. As a result, he has acquired a reputation for frequently changing his own position.

In philosophy of mind, Putnam is known for his argument against the type-identity of mental and physical states based on his hypothesis of the multiple realizability of the mental, and for the concept of functionalism, an influential theory regarding the mind-body problem. In philosophy of language, along with Saul Kripke and others, he developed the causal theory of reference, and formulated an original theory of meaning, inventing the notion of semantic externalism based on a famous thought experiment called Twin Earth.


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Ryan White

Ryan Wayne White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990) was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States after being expelled from school because of his infection. A hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in 1984, was given six months to live. Though doctors said he posed no risk to other students, AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against his attendance. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the struggle made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. He appeared frequently in the media with celebrities such as singer Elton John, pop star Michael Jackson and talk show host Phil Donahue. Surprising his doctors, White lived five years longer than predicted and died in April 1990, shortly before he would have completed high school.


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Georges Vézina

Joseph Georges Gonzague Vézina (January 21, 1887 – March 26, 1926) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played seven seasons in the National Hockey Association (NHA) and nine in the National Hockey League (NHL), all with the Montreal Canadiens. After being signed by the Canadiens in 1910, Vézina played in 327 consecutive regular season and a further 39 playoff games, before leaving early during a game in 1925 due to illness. Vézina was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and died in March 1926.

The only goaltender to play for the Canadiens between 1910 and 1925, Vézina helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 1916 and 1924, while reaching the Stanley Cup Finals three more times. Vézina allowed the fewest goals against in the league seven times in his career: four times in the NHA and three times in the NHL. At the start of the 1926–27 NHL season, the Canadiens donated the Vezina Trophy to the NHL as an award to the goaltender who allowed the fewest goals during the season. When the Hockey Hall of Fame opened in 1945, Vézina was one of the original twelve inductees.


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Solomon P Sharp

Solomon Porcius Sharp (August 22, 1787 – November 7, 1825) was attorney general of Kentucky and a member of the United States Congress and the Kentucky General Assembly. His murder at the hands of Jereboam O. Beauchamp in 1825 is referred to as the Beauchamp–Sharp Tragedy or The Kentucky Tragedy.

Sharp began his political career representing Warren County, Kentucky in the Kentucky House of Representatives. He briefly served in the War of 1812, then returned to Kentucky and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1813. He was re-elected to a second term, though his support of a controversial bill regarding legislator salaries cost him his seat in 1816. Aligning himself with Kentucky's Debt Relief Party, he returned to the Kentucky House in 1817 but resigned his seat in 1821 to accept Governor John Adair's appointment to the post of Attorney General of Kentucky. Adair's successor, Joseph Desha, re-appointed him to this position. In 1825, Sharp resigned as attorney general to return to the Kentucky House.


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