Portal:Philadelphia/Selected biography archive

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Selected biography archive

Selected biography archive

Most of these articles about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are either Cscr-featured.svg featured articles or Symbol support vote.svg Good articles.

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Louis Henry Carpenter
Louis H. Carpenter was a United States Army brigadier general and Medal of Honor recipient. He began his military career in 1861, first as an enlisted soldier before being commissioned as an officer the following year. During the American Civil War, he participated in sixteen campaigns with the 6th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Indian Wars while serving with the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th U.S. Cavalry. He was noted several times for gallantry in official dispatches. Louis Carpenter dropped out of college to enlist in the Union Army at the beginning of the American Civil War and fought in the Gettysburg Campaign at the Battle of Fairfield. By the end of the Civil War, he held the rank of brevet lieutenant colonel, but also received a commission to first lieutenant in the Regular United States Army. After the Civil War and until his transfer back East in 1887, he served on the western frontier. He engaged many Native American tribes, dealt with many types of renegades and explored vast areas of uncharted territory from Texas to Arizona. During the Spanish-American War, he commanded an occupation force and became the first military governor of Puerto Principe, Cuba. After 38 continuous years of service to his country, he retired from the Army on October 19, 1899, as a brigadier general. After his retirement, he became a speaker and a writer.

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John Ashby Lester
John Lester was an American cricketer, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Lester was one of the Philadelphian cricketers who played from the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of World War I. His obituary in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, described him as "one of the great figures in American cricket." During his career, he played in 53 matches for the Philadelphians, 47 of which are considered first class. From 1897 until his retirement in 1908, Lester led the batting averages in Philadelphia and captained all the international home matches. John Lester helped to lift Philadelphia cricket to the highest levels of international play with his leadership and understanding of the sport. He is one of the few American cricketers noted in Cricket Scores and Biographies, which said that he was "a watchful batsman who could hit well and had plenty of strokes and strong defence." In 1951 he authored A Century of Philadelphia Cricket, which was a definitive history of the game in the area. Lester was also integral in the foundation of the C.C. Morris Cricket Library when he proposed that cricket, "with a history and literature second to none should be given a permanent home in the United States."

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Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; he was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans. Poe's publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move between several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In January 1845, Poe published his poem "The Raven" to instant success. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents. Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography.

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John Barton "Bart" King
Bart King was an American cricketer, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. King was one of the Philadelphian cricketers that played from the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of World War I. This period of cricket in the United States was dominated by gentleman players—men of independent wealth who did not need to work. King was an amateur from a middle-class family, who was able to devote time to cricket thanks to a job set up by his teammates. King was a skilled batsman, but proved his worth as a bowler. During his career, he set numerous records in North America and led the first-class bowling averages in England in 1908. He successfully competed against the best cricketers from England and Australia. King was the dominant bowler on his team when it toured England in 1897, 1903, and 1908. He dismissed batsmen with his unique delivery, which he called the "angler," and helped develop the art of swing bowling in the sport. Many of the great bowlers of today still use the strategies and techniques that he developed. Sir Pelham Warner described Bart King as one of the finest bowlers of all time, and Donald Bradman called him "America's greatest cricketing son."

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Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain was an American professional NBA basketball player for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers; and also played for the Harlem Globetrotters. The 7 foot 1 inch Chamberlain, who weighed 250 lbs as a rookie before bulking up to 275 lb and eventually over 300 lb with the Lakers, played the center position and is considered by his contemporaries as one of the greatest and most dominant players in the history of the NBA. Chamberlain holds numerous official NBA all-time records, setting records in many scoring, rebounding and durability categories. Among other notable accomplishments, he is the only player in NBA history to average more than 40 and 50 points in a season or score 100 points in a single NBA game. He also won seven scoring, nine field goal percentage, and eleven rebounding titles, and once even led the league in assists. Although suffering a long string of professional losses, Chamberlain had a successful career, winning two NBA titles, earning four regular-season Most Valuable Player awards, the Rookie of the Year award, one NBA Finals MVP award, and being selected to 13 All-Star Games and ten All-NBA First and Second teams. Chamberlain was subsequently enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978, elected into the NBA's 35th Anniversary Team of 1980, and chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History of 1996. After his basketball career, Chamberlain played volleyball in the short-lived International Volleyball Association, was president of this organization and enshrined in the IVA Hall of Fame for his contributions. Chamberlain was also a successful businessman, authored several books and appeared in the movie Conan the Destroyer. He was a lifelong bachelor, but became notorious for his claim to have had sex with 20,000 women, a statement which has entered popular culture.

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Edmund Norwood Bacon was a 20th century American urban planner and architect born in Philadelphia. During his tenure as the executive director of the City Planning Commission from 1949 to 1970, his visions shaped the city to such an extent that he has been called "The Father of Modern Philadelphia". Serving under mayors Samuel, Clark, Dilworth, and Tate during the mid-century era of urban renewal, his work brought him national attention along with his counterparts Edward Logue in Boston and Robert Moses in New York City. He appeared on the covers of Time magazine in 1964, and Life magazine in 1965, the latter including a cover story about his work. His design concepts were realized in Penn Center, Market East, Penn's Landing, Society Hill, Independence Mall, and the Far Northeast. Bacon received numerous honors including the Frank P. Brown Medal in 1962, the American Planning Association Distinguished Service Award, and an honorary doctorate from Penn. Bacon was elected into the National Academy of Design as an associate member in 1983, and became a full member in 1994. In his final years, Bacon helped found and served as an honorary director of The Ed Bacon Foundation whose programs are now managed by the Edmund N. Bacon Memorial Committee at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission dedicated a state historical marker honoring Bacon's memory and commemorating his work at the northwest corner of 15th Street and J.F.K. Boulevard by LOVE Park, an urban square he had designed. Bacon was the father of actor Kevin Bacon.

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George Brinton McClellan
George B. McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly (November 1861 to March 1862) as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these attributes may have hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign in 1862 ended in failure, with retreats from attacks by General Robert E. Lee's smaller army and an unfulfilled plan to seize the Confederate capital of Richmond. His performance at the bloody Battle of Antietam blunted Lee's invasion of Maryland, but allowed Lee to eke out a precarious tactical draw and avoid destruction, despite being outnumbered. As a result, McClellan's leadership skills during battles were questioned by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command, first as general-in-chief, then from the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was famously quoted as saying, "If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time." Despite this, he was the most popular of that army's commanders with its soldiers, who felt that he had their morale and well-being as paramount concerns. McClellan became the unsuccessful Democratic nominee opposing Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election. His party had an anti-war platform, promising to end the war and negotiate with the Confederacy, which McClellan was forced to repudiate, damaging the effectiveness of his campaign. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881.

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Clifford Scott Green
Clifford Scott Green was a judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Green was the eighteenth African American Article III judge appointed in the United States, and the second African American judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. During his 36 years on the federal bench Judge Green presided over a number of notable cases, including Bolden v. Pennsylvania State Police, and was regarded as one of the most popular judges in the district. Green was the first recipient of the NAACP's William H. Hastie award in 1985 and was awarded the Spirit of Excellence award by the American Bar Association in 2002. The Philadelphia chapter of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association is named in Judge Green's honor. He was a lifetime trustee of Temple University, and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Philadelphia State Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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Edward Urner Goodman
E. Urner Goodman was an influential leader in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) movement for much of the twentieth century. Goodman was the national program director from 1931 until 1951, during the organization's formative years of significant growth when the Cub Scouting and Exploring programs were established. He developed the BSA's national training center in the early 1930s and was responsible for publication of the widely read Boy Scout Handbook and other Scouting books, writing the Leaders Handbook used by Scout leaders in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1950s, Goodman was Executive Director of Men's Work for the National Council of Churches in New York City and active in church work. Goodman is best remembered today for having created the Order of the Arrow (OA), a popular and highly successful program of the BSA that continues to honor Scouts for their cheerful service. Since its founding in 1915, the Order of the Arrow has grown to become a nationwide program having thousands of members, which recognizes those Scouts who best exemplify the virtues of cheerful service, camping, and leadership by membership in BSA's honor society. As of 2007, the Order of the Arrow has more than 183,000 members.

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Albert Alexander "Ox" Wistert.
Al Wistert is a former All-Pro American football offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played his entire nine-year NFL career for the Eagles and became the team's captain. He played college football for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He is one of the three Wistert brothers (Alvin, Francis) who were named All-American Tackles at Michigan and later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame; they are three of only seven players who have had their numbers retired by the Michigan Wolverines football program. He was named to play in the NFL's first Pro Bowl as an Eagle, the first Michigan alumnus to be so recognized. During most of his pro career there were no football All-star games, although he was named to the league All-Pro team eight times. Wistert was inducted into the Eagles Honor Roll on September 29, 2009, along with Randall Cunningham. Wistert has an active petition campaign to pursue Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. After football, he became a successful life insurance salesman, over a 40-year career. Since retirement he has lived in California and Grants Pass, Oregon. He was married to his late wife Ellie for 61 years and has three daughters (Pam, Dianna and Kathy) and three grandchildren.

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Charles Wade Barkley.
Charles Barkley is a retired American professional basketball player. Barkley established himself as one of the National Basketball Association's (NBA's) most dominating power forwards. He was selected to both the All-NBA First Team and All-NBA Second Team five times and once named to the All-NBA Third Team. He earned eleven NBA All-Star Game appearances and was named the All-Star MVP in 1991. In 1993, he was voted the league's Most Valuable Player and during the NBA's 50th anniversary, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States' Dream Team. In 2006, Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Barkley was popular with the fans and media and made the NBA's All-Interview Team for each of his last 13 seasons in the league. He was frequently involved in on- and off-court fights and sometimes stirred national controversy, as in March 1991 when he mistakenly spat on a young girl, and as in 1993 when he declared that sports figures should not be considered role models. Short for a power forward, Barkley used his strength and aggressiveness to become one of the NBA's most dominant rebounders. He was a versatile player who had the ability to score, create plays, and defend. In 2000, he retired as one of only four players in NBA history with 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. Since retiring as a player, Barkley has had a successful career as an Emmy Award-winning color commentator on basketball. He works with Turner Network Television (TNT) as a studio pundit for its coverage of NBA games. In addition, Barkley has written several books and has shown an interest in politics; in October 2008, he announced that he will be running for Governor of Alabama in 2014.

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Walter O'Malley was an American sports executive who owned the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers team in Major League Baseball from 1950 to 1979. He served as Brooklyn Dodgers chief legal counsel when Jackie Robinson broke the racial color barrier in 1947. In 1958, as owner of the Dodgers, he brought major league baseball to the West Coast, moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and coordinating the move of the New York Giants to San Francisco at a time when there were no teams west of Missouri. For this, he was long vilified by Brooklyn Dodgers fans. However, neutral parties describe him as a visionary for the same business action, and many authorities cite him as one of the most influential sportsmen of the 20th century. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for his contributions to and influence on the game of baseball. O'Malley's Irish father, Edwin Joseph O'Malley, was politically connected. Walter, a University of Pennsylvania Salutatorian, went on to obtain a Juris Doctorate, and he used the combination of his family connections, his personal contacts, and both his educational and vocational skills to rise to prominence. First, he became an entrepreneur involved in public works contracting, and then he became an executive with the Dodgers. He progressed from being a team lawyer to being both the Dodgers' owner and president, and he eventually made the business decision to relocate the Dodgers franchise. Although he moved the franchise, O'Malley is known as a businessman whose major philosophy was stability through loyalty to and from his employees. O'Malley ceded the team presidency to his son, Peter, in 1970 but retained the titles of owner and chairman of the Dodgers until his death in 1979. During the 1975 season, the Dodgers' inability to negotiate a contract with Andy Messersmith led to the Seitz decision, which limited the baseball reserve clause and paved the way for modern free agency.

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Leonore Annenberg.
Leonore Annenberg was a billionaire former Chief of Protocol of the United States. A prominent philanthropist, she was married to Walter Annenberg, who was an Ambassador to the United Kingdom and a business magnate. She served as the chairman and president of the Annenberg Foundation. Born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, she graduated from Stanford University. After her first two marriages ended in divorce, she married business magnate Walter Annenberg, who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1969. In her role as the ambassador's wife, Leonore directed a major renovation of the ambassador's official residence. The Annenbergs contributed to Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign and upon his inauguration, Leonore was named Chief of Protocol, placing her in charge of advising the president, vice president, and Secretary of State on matters relating to diplomatic protocol. The Annenbergs became major philanthropists, donating money to education facilities, charitable causes, and the arts. Leonore served on many committees and boards as well. Following Walter Annenberg's death in 2002, she continued to donate money and promote the Annenberg Foundation.

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David Bowditch Morse.
David Morse is an American stage, television, and film actor. He first came to national attention as Dr. Jack Morrison in the medical drama St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988. Morse continued his movie career with roles in Dancer in the Dark, The Green Mile, Disturbia, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Rock, Extreme Measures, Twelve Monkeys, 16 Blocks, and Hounddog. In 2006, Morse had a recurring role as Detective Michael Tritter on the medical drama House, receiving an Emmy Award nomination. He also had a supporting role in the recent movie Disturbia. In 2008, Morse portrayed George Washington in the HBO Miniseries John Adams for which he received his second Emmy nomination. Morse has received acclaim for his portrayal of Uncle Peck on the Off-Broadway play How I Learned to Drive for which he earned a Drama Desk and Obie Award. He also had success on Broadway, portraying James "Sharky" Harkin in The Seafarer. Morse has been married to actress Susan Wheeler Duff since June 19, 1982. In 1994, Morse moved to Philadelphia with his family after the 1994 Northridge earthquake to be near his wife's family.

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Tory Burch.
Tory Burch is an American fashion designer who was born, raised, and educated in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. She attended the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, PA, and the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she began a career working with fashion designers and at Harper's Bazaar magazine. She was a copywriter for Polo Ralph Lauren and worked for Vera Wang. She began a fashion label in February 2004. The label was an immediate success and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey the following year. The label has stores in several large American cities and has lines that are sold in several upscale specialty department stores. Burch has won several fashion awards for her designs. Her fashion label known as "TRB by Tory Burch"—later as "Tory Burch"—began as a business operation in her Upper East Side apartment and very quickly blossomed into eighteen free-standing boutiques. In February 2004, Tory Burch opened a flagship store in the NoLIta neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City; the store was almost completely sold out on the first day. She now has locations in Atlanta, Bal Harbour, Bellevue, Chicago, Costa Mesa, Dallas, East Hampton, Houston, Greenwich, Connecticut, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, San Diego, and San Francisco, and her fashion line is carried in Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's. Stories about her and her fashion line have appeared in a broad spectrum of magazines and newspapers, and in April 2005, Winfrey endorsed her line on the The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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Brian P. Tierney.
Brian Tierney is an American public relations executive and publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Born in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania, Tierney created Tierney Communications, one of the largest and most successful public relations and advertising firms in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the local media Tierney became known for personally contacting reporters and their editors with accusations of bias and unprofessionalism whenever a negative story about his clients appeared. In 1997, on behalf of his client the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Tierney lobbed unprofessionalism accusations against Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Ralph Cipriano. The case led to Cipriano accusing The Inquirer of censoring his story and suing the paper for libel. Five years after True North Communications acquired Tierney Communications in 1998, Tierney left and founded another public relations firm, which was a sold a few months later. Tierney in 2006 assembled a group of investors to form Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, a group started with the purpose of buying The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. Chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings, Tierney also became the publisher of the struggling Philadelphia Inquirer shortly after Philadelphia Media Holdings bought the paper. After overcoming doubts about Tierney's neutrality in running the paper he had criticized in the past, Philadelphia Media Holdings has had to deal with the newspaper's falling circulation and advertising revenue; it has filed bankruptcy. Outside of business, Tierney has been active in politics and a supporter of Republican causes.

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Hamilton Disston
Hamilton Disston was an industrialist and real-estate developer who purchased four million acres (16,000 km²) of Florida land in 1881, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, and reportedly the most land ever purchased by a single person in world history. Disston was the son of Pennsylvania-based industrialist Henry Disston who formed Disston & Sons Saw Works, which Hamilton later ran and which was one of the largest saw manufacturing companies in the world. Hamilton Disston's investment in the infrastructure of Florida spurred growth throughout the state. His related efforts to drain the Everglades triggered the state's first land boom with numerous towns and cities established through the area. Disston's land purchase and investments were directly responsible for creating or fostering the towns of Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Gulfport, Tarpon Springs, and indirectly aided the rapid growth of St. Petersburg, Florida. He furthermore oversaw the successful cultivation of rice and sugarcane near the Kissimmee area. Although Disston's engineered canals aided water transport and steamboat traffic in Florida, he was ultimately unsuccessful in draining the Kissimmee River floodplain or lowering the surface water around Lake Okeechobee and in the Everglades. He was forced to sell much of his investments at a fraction of their original costs. However, his land purchase primed Florida's economy and allowed railroad magnates Henry Flagler and Henry Plant to build rail lines down the east coast of Florida, and another joining the west coast, which directly led to the domination of the tourist and citrus industries in Florida. Disston's immediate impact was in the Philadelphia area, where he was active in Republican politics and a philanthropist, but his legacy is often associated with the draining and development of Florida.

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Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Born to middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia, he is sometimes described as "the father of modern linguistics." Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism. He began studies at the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 16, taking courses in linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. From 1951 to 1955 he was appointed to Harvard University's Society of Fellows, where he developed the theory of transformational grammar for which he was awarded his doctorate in 1955. Chomsky emerged as a significant figure in the field of linguistics in 1957 for his landmark work Syntactic Structures. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the universal grammar theory, the generative grammar theory, the Chomsky hierarchy, and the minimalist program. Chomsky also played a pivotal role in the decline of behaviorism. One of the most cited scholars in history, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields. He is widely recognized as a paradigm shifter who helped spark a major revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind. In addition to his continued scholarly research, he remains a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media. His ideas have proved highly significant within the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements, but have also drawn criticism, with some accusing Chomsky of anti-Americanism.

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Sarah Chang holding violin
Sarah Chang is a classical violinist recognized as a child prodigy who first played as a soloist when she was eight years old. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School and has performed as a soloist with many of the world's major orchestras. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Voorhees—a Philadelphia suburb—she is the daughter of Myoung-Jun, a composer, and Min-Soo Chang, who was a violinist and music teacher. Her mother trained her to play one-finger melodies on the piano at age three. For her fourth birthday, she was given a 1/16-sized violin. In 1986, when Chang was five years old, she auditioned for and was accepted to the Juilliard School by performing the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. She auditioned at the age of eight with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, as well as Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Both conductors granted her immediate engagements. In 1991, when Chang was ten years old, she recorded her first album, Debut, which entered the Billboard chart of classical best-sellers. In 2006, Newsweek ranked her as one of the Top Eight Achieving Females in the United States. Chang has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and many others. Chang has been a soloist under many famous conductors including Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Plácido Domingo, and John Williams. Notable recital engagements have included her Carnegie Hall debut and performances at the Kennedy Center, Boston's Symphony Hall, London's Barbican Centre, and Berlin's Philharmonie.

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Benjamin Franklin.png

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution. Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation.

In early adulthood, Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing the Gazette and Poor Richard's Almanack. He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, enabling him to establish the first national communications network. During the American Revolution, he became the first United States Postmaster General. From 1785 to 1788, he served as the sixth governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the 1750s, he argued against slavery, becoming one of the most prominent abolitionists. His status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers has seen Franklin honored on coinage, the $100 bill, and the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, streets, warships, and corporations. In Philadelphia, the main sites named after Franklin include a suspension bridge crossing the Delaware River, a parkway, a science museum, an athletic field, a high school, an elementary school, and a city square.