Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography

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  • The "blurb" for all selected articles should be approximately 10 lines, for appropriate formatting in the portal main page.
  • The list should only contain articles that have been given a quality rating of Wikipedia:Good articles or Wikipedia:Featured articles.

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Selected biography 1

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/1

Portrait of Samuel Adams by John Singleton Copley
Samuel Adams was a Massachusetts statesman, politician, writer, and political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Adams was instrumental in garnering the support of the colonies in rebellion against Great Britain, ultimately resulting in the American Revolution. He was also one of the key architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped American political culture. Adams organized protests against the British, including the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and participated in the Continental Congress. He also advocated for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence at the Second Continental Congress. Following the American Revolution, Adams helped draft the Articles of Confederation. After the war ended, he ran for the House of Representatives in the 1st United States Congressional election, but was unsuccessful in his bid. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1789 and after John Hancock's death in 1793, Adams served as the acting governor, until he was elected governor in January of the following year. He served in that position until June 1797 when he decided to retire from politics.

Selected biography 2

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/2

Calvin Coolidge (1923)
Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States, from 1923 to 1929. He was born in Plymouth, Vermont on July 4, 1872. He went to St. Johnsbury Academy for a year before attending Amherst College. A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, serving in the state House of Representatives, mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts, State Senator, Lieutenant Governor, and eventually Governor of Massachusetts. His conduct during the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th Vice President in 1920 and succeeded to the Presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity.

Selected biography 3

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Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (about 1853)
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was an American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Holmes was educated at Phillips Academy and Harvard College. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table" series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Another of his most famous works, "Old Ironsides", was published in 1830 and was influential in the eventual preservation of the USS Constitution. Many of his works were published in The Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that he named. He is also recognized as an important medical reformer. He taught at Dartmouth Medical School before returning to Harvard to teach and, for a time, served as dean there. Holmes retired from Harvard in 1882 and continued writing poetry, novels and essays until his death in 1894.

Selected biography 4

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Ellis Paul (2006)
Ellis Paul is an American singer-songwriter and folk musician. Born in Aroostook County, Maine, Paul is a key figure in what has become known as the Boston school of songwriting, a literate, provocative and urbanely romantic folk-pop style that helped ignite the folk revival of the 1990s. His pop music songs have appeared in movies and on television, bridging the gap between the modern folk sound and the populist traditions of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Having grown up in a small town in Maine, Paul attended Boston College on a track scholarship where he majored in English. An athletic injury sustained during his junior year changed the course of his professional career. Paul picked up a guitar to pass the time while sidelined, and discovered that playing guitar and writing songs was the creative outlet he had been looking for. After graduating from college he began playing at open mic nights in the Boston area while working with inner-city school children. Paul's growing popularity at Boston coffeehouses, coupled with winning a Boston Acoustic Underground songwriter competition and national exposure on a Windham Hill Records compilation combined to give him the confidence to resign his day-job and pursue a career as a professional musician. To date, Paul has released 18 albums and has been the recipient of 14 Boston Music Awards, considered by some to be a pinnacle of contemporary acoustic music success.

Selected biography 5

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/5

Bill Russell (2011)
William Felton "Bill" Russell is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A five-time winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and a twelve-time All-Star, Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA Championships during Russell's thirteen-year career. Russell is widely considered one of the best players in NBA history, and holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in an American sports league. Russell was the first African American player to achieve superstar status in the NBA. He also served a three-season (1966–69) stint as player-coach for the Celtics, becoming the first African American NBA coach. Frequent battles with racism left Russell with a long-standing contempt for fans and journalists. When he retired, Russell left Boston with a bitter attitude, although in recent years his relationship with the city has improved. For his accomplishments in the Civil Rights Movement on and off the court, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011.

Selected biography 6

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/6

Emily Dickinson (1846 or 1847)
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, It was not until after her death in 1886—when Lavinia, Emily's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.

Selected biography 7

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/7

Myles Standish (1625)
Myles Standish was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military advisor for Plymouth Colony. One of the Mayflower passengers, and a signatory of the Mayflower Compact, Standish played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony from its inception. Standish served as an agent of Plymouth Colony in England, as assistant governor, and as treasurer of Plymouth Colony. He was also one of the first settlers and founders of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 1621 the Plymouth Colony militia elected him as its first commander and continued to re-elect him to that position for the remainder of his life. A defining characteristic of Standish's military leadership was his proclivity for preemptive action which resulted in at least two attacks on different groups of Native Americans; the Nemasket raid and the Wessagusset massacre. During these actions, Standish exhibited considerable courage and skill as a soldier, but also demonstrated a brutality that angered Native Americans and disturbed more moderate members of the Colony.

Selected biography 8

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/8

Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. (2008)
Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. is a retired officer of the United States Navy and a former naval aviator. He rose to the rank of captain, and received the Medal of Honor for his actions in trying to save the life of his wingman, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, Hudner attended Phillips Academy and the United States Naval Academy. Initially uninterested in aviation, he eventually took up flying and joined Fighter Squadron 32, flying the F4U Corsair at the outbreak of the Korean War. Arriving near Korea in October 1950, he flew support missions from the USS Leyte. Following the incident for which Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor, Hudner held positions aboard several U.S. Navy ships and with a number of aviation units, including a brief stint as Executive Officer of the USS Kitty Hawk during a brief tour in the Vietnam War, before retiring in 1973. In subsequent years, he has worked for various veterans organizations in the United States. He is currently living in retirement in Concord, Massachusetts. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner will be named for him.

Selected biography 9

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/9

Art Ross (sometime between 1907 and 1918)
Arthur Howey "Art" Ross was a Canadian ice hockey defenceman and executive from 1905 until 1954. Regarded as one of the best defenders of his era by his peers, he was one of the first to skate with the puck up the ice rather than pass it to a forward. Like other players of the time, Ross played for several different teams and leagues, and is most notable for his time with the Montreal Wanderers. In 1911 he led one of the first organized player strikes over increased pay. When the Wanderers' home arena burned down in January 1918, the team ceased operations and Ross retired as a player. After several years as an on-ice official, he was named head coach of the Hamilton Tigers for one season. When the Boston Bruins were formed in 1924, Ross was hired as the first coach and general manager of the team. He would go on to coach the team on four separate occasions until 1945 and stayed as general manager until his retirement in 1954. Ross helped the Bruins finish first place in the league ten times and to win the Stanley Cup three times; Ross personally coached the team to one of those victories. After being hired by the Bruins, Ross, along with his wife and two sons, moved to a suburb of Boston, and became an American citizen in 1938. He died near Boston in 1964.

Selected biography 10

Portal:Massachusetts/Selected biography/10

W. E. B. Du Bois (1836)
William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor. Born in western Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a tolerant community and experienced little racism as a child. After graduating from Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Du Bois rose to national prominence as the leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks. Racism was the main target of Du Bois's polemics, and he strongly protested against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. His cause included colored persons everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in their struggles against colonialism and imperialism. A prolific author, his collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, was a seminal work in African-American literature; and his 1935 magnum opus Black Reconstruction in America challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction era.

Selected biography 11

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James Bowdoin (1748)
James Bowdoin II was an American political and intellectual leader from Boston, Massachusetts during the American Revolution. He served in both branches of the Massachusetts General Court from the 1750s to the 1770s. Although he was initially supportive of the royal governors, he opposed British colonial policy and eventually became an influential advocate of independence. He authored a highly political report on the 1770 Boston Massacre that has been described as one of the most influential pieces of writing that shaped public opinion in the colonies. From 1775 to 1777 he served as president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress' executive council, the de facto head of the Massachusetts government. He was elected president of the constitutional convention that drafted the state's constitution in 1779, and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1780, losing to John Hancock. In 1785, following Hancock's resignation, he was elected governor. His harsh fiscal policy while in office contributed to Shays' Rebellion. In addition to his political activities, Bowdoin was active in scientific pursuits, collaborating with Benjamin Franklin in his pioneering research on electricity. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and was a founder and first president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Selected biography 12

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Fred Tenney (1897)
Frederick Tenney was an American professional baseball player whose career spanned 20 seasons, 17 of which were spent with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Boston Beaneaters/Doves/Rustlers (1894–1907, 1911) and the New York Giants (1908–1909). Described as "one of the best defensive first basemen of all time", Tenney is credited with originating the 3-6-3 double play and originating the style of playing off the first base foul line and deep, as modern first basemen do. Born in Georgetown, Massachusetts, Tenney was one of the first players to enter the league after graduating college, where he served as a left-handed catcher for Brown University. Signing with the Beaneaters, Tenney spent the next 14 seasons with the team, including a three-year managerial stint from 1905–1907. In December 1907 Tenney was traded to the Giants as a part of an eight-man deal; after two years playing for New York, he resigned with the Boston club, where he played for and managed the team in 1911. He also served as a journalist for The Boston Post, Baseball Magazine, and The New York Times. After retiring from baseball, Tenney worked for the Equitable Life Insurance Society before his death in Boston on July 3, 1952.

Selected biography 13

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Henry Vane (date unknown)
Sir Henry Vane was an English politician, statesman, and colonial governor. He was briefly present in North America, serving one term as the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and supported the creation of Roger Williams' Rhode Island Colony and Harvard College. A proponent of religious tolerance, he returned to England in 1637 following the Antinomian controversy that led to the banning of Anne Hutchinson from Massachusetts, and became a leading force in English politics during the years of the English Civil War. Vane was recognized by his political peers as a competent administrator and a wily and persuasive negotiator and politician. His politics was driven by a desire for religious tolerance in an era when governments were used to establish official churches and suppress dissenting views. Although his views were in a small minority, he was able to successfully build coalitions to advance his agenda. His actions were often ultimately divisive, and contributed to both the rise and downfall of the English Commonwealth. His books and pamphlets written on political and religious subjects are still analyzed today, and Vane is remembered in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as an early champion of religious freedom.

Selected biography 14

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Ted Kennedy (date unknown)
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. He was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and was the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history, having served there for almost 47 years. As the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family for many years, he was also the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both victims of assassination; and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. Kennedy was known for his charisma and oratorical skills. His 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became recognized as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. More than 300 bills that Kennedy and his staff authored were enacted into law. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government emphasizing economic and social justice, but was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises between senators with disparate views.

Selected biography 15

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William S. Clark (1876)
William Smith Clark was a professor of chemistry, botany and zoology, a colonel during the American Civil War, and a leader in agricultural education. Raised and schooled in Easthampton, Massachusetts, Clark spent most of his adult life in Amherst, Massachusetts. He graduated from Amherst College in 1848 and obtained a doctorate in chemistry from Georgia Augusta University in Göttingen in 1852. He then served as professor of chemistry at Amherst College from 1852 to 1867. During the Civil War, he was granted leave from Amherst to serve with the 21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, eventually achieving the rank of colonel and the command of that unit. In 1867, Clark became the third president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC), now the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He was the first to appoint a faculty and admit a class of students. Although MAC faced criticism at the time, Clark's success in organizing an innovative academic institution earned him international attention, which led the Japanese government to hire Clark as a foreign advisor to establish the Sapporo Agricultural College (SAC), now Hokkaido University.

Selected biography 16

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John Hancock (1770)
John Hancock was a merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term "John Hancock" has become, in the United States, a synonym for signature. Before the American Revolution, Hancock was one of the wealthiest men in the Thirteen Colonies, having inherited a profitable shipping business from his uncle. Hancock began his political career in Boston as a protégé of Samuel Adams, an influential local politician, though the two men later became estranged. As tensions between colonists and Great Britain increased in the 1760s, Hancock used his wealth to support the colonial cause. He became very popular in Massachusetts, especially after British officials seized his sloop Liberty in 1768 and charged him with smuggling, charges that were eventually dropped. Following the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Hancock returned to Massachusetts and was elected governor of the Commonwealth, where he used his influence to ensure that Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution in 1788.

Selected biography 17

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William Phips (between 1687 and 1694)
Sir William Phips was a shipwright, ship's captain, treasure hunter, military leader, and the first royally-appointed governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He is perhaps best remembered for establishing, and later over-ruling and disbanding, the court associated with the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Of humble origin and poorly educated, he was a shipbuilder in Boston before embarking on several treasure hunting expeditions to the West Indies. He became famous in London when he recovered a large treasure from a sunken Spanish galleon, a feat that earned him instant wealth and a knighthood. In 1690, during King William's War, he led a successful military expedition against Port Royal, Acadia, and then made a disastrous attempt to capture Quebec later the same year. Despite the military setback and his crude country manner, his connections in London and with the influential Mather family gained him the governorship of Massachusetts. He was not politically sophisticated, and became enmeshed in controversies (including physical altercations with other officials) that led to his recall to England to answer a variety of charges. He died in London before the charges against him were heard.

Selected biography 18

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Oliver Edwards (1860 - 1870)
Oliver Edwards was a machine company executive, an inventor, and a volunteer officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Edwards moved to Illinois as a young man to pursue a career as a manager of manufacturing. At the start of the Civil War, he became adjutant of the 10th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and later aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Darius N. Couch. In the fall of 1862, he took command of the 37th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as colonel and led that unit through numerous major battles including the Battle of Gettysburg. Just after Gettysburg, in July 1863, he was placed in command of a provisional brigade sent to assist in quelling the New York Draft Riots. During the Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, he was placed in command of a brigade and, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 he was briefly placed in command of a division of the VI Corps. For his service, he would be given the honorary rank of major general. After the war, Edwards returned to a career in manufacturing, most notably as manager of the Florence Machine Company in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Gardner Machine and Gun Company in England.

Selected biography 19

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Lucy Stone (1881)
Lucy Stone was a prominent American abolitionist and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women. In 1847, Stone was the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree. She spoke out for women's rights and against slavery at a time when women were discouraged and prevented from public speaking. Stone was the first recorded American woman to retain her own last name after marriage. Stone's organizational activities for the cause of women's rights yielded tangible gains in the difficult political environment of the 19th century. Stone helped initiate the first National Women's Rights Convention and she supported and sustained it annually along with a number of other local, state and regional activist conventions. Stone spoke in front of a number of legislative bodies to promote laws giving more rights to women. She assisted in establishing the Woman's National Loyal League to help pass the Thirteenth Amendment and thereby abolish slavery, after which she helped form the largest group of like-minded women's rights reformers, the politically-moderate American Woman Suffrage Association, which worked for decades at the state level in favor of women's right to vote.

Selected biography 20

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Arthur F. Devereux (1889)
Arthur Forrester Devereux was a captain in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia prior to the Civil War and a colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Devereux attended Harvard College and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Devereux did not graduate West Point, however, and instead moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue a career in business, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. Returning to Massachusetts in 1855, Devereux was eventually elected captain of the Salem Light Infantry company in 1859. Devereux enhanced the Salem company's prestige by transforming it into a Zouave unit and training its members in precision drill. During the Battle of Gettysburg, the 19th Massachusetts, under his command, played an important role in filling a breach in the Union lines during Pickett's Charge. After his active service had concluded, Devereux was awarded the honorary rank of brevet brigadier general of the United States Volunteers. During the Civil War, Salem company would be attached to the 8th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, which for a time served on the USS Constitution. After the 8th Regiment mustered out, Devereux served with the 19th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

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