by Susanna Hopkins Mason
Susanna Hopkins Mason grew up in Maryland, with a father who was a member of the Society of Friends and a mother who was a member of the Episcopal church. Mason was fully encouraged by her parents in her educational pursuits throughout her life. Growing up, she made several visits to relatives in Philadelphia who also encouraged her education and literary talents.
Around the age of twenty, Mason became a member of the Religious Society of Friends. In 1779, she married George Mason and moved to Chester County, Pennsylvania. Mason became deeply involved in the Friends religious community. She spent a great deal of time in Philadelphia, and in the countryside to recover from several bouts of ill health. She began a school, and a relief organization for impoverished women in Baltimore. She passed away at the age of 57 in 1805. Her husband, George Mason, was the founding Virginia Governor.
This new edition is dedicated to the members of the Friends Meeting of Washington, D.C.
Sir David Wilkie RA was born on November 18, 1785 in Scotland. Although he family was not terribly pleased with his devotion to the arts, they supported his choice to become a painter, and he went on to study at the Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh. After graduation, he returned home and was commissioned to do many portraits, as his talent was already well recognized. After approximately a year, Wilkie went to study at the Royal Academy in 1805, again finding great success. Wilkie was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1809, and by 1811 he became a full Academician.He primarily did portraiture work, often for royalty, which was very stressful for Wilkie and took a toll on his health. He traveled through Europe and the Middle East, which broadened his influence and interests, although he remained primarily commissioned to do portraits.
Interestingly, several subjects were not terribly pleased with the outcome of his work, finding it not particularly flattering, while he served as the Royal Limner for Scotland. While traveling, Wilkie picked up a terrible illness in Malta, and passed away while heading to Britain on June 1, 1841. He was buried at sea near the Bay of Gibraltar.
by Charlotte M. Yonge
Hannah More was born in 1745 in the village of Fishponds, located near Bristol. Her father was a teacher, which helped to ensure that Hannah and her siblings were educated. She was once engaged, but the nuptials did not take place. Instead, More enjoyed an annual payment from the broken engagement from her would-be husband, William Turner. More used the money to allow her to live her dreams–to be a writer. She wrote a great deal, especially poetry in her younger days. In 1787 she became more involved in the abolition movement. A year later, her poem, “Slavery, A Poem” became a powerful call to action against slavery by bringing attention to Britain’s role and the blight on Christianity from the ungodly practice.
She continued to fight against slavery, but also turned her attentions towards building schools for impoverished children. More also became more involved in her religious community, and her writing took on more evangelical, including writing several religious tracts. She worked in conjunction with Sunday schools to create programs to combat illiteracy. She passed away in 1833, after seeing Britain finally abolish slavery.
by Charles Francis Adams
Charles Francis Adams enjoyed a variety of roles during his life. He was born on May 27, 1835 in Boston into a life of prominence, being the grandson of John Quincy Adams. In 1856, Adams graduated from Harvard University. A few years later he served in the Union Army during the Civil War in 1861. He was considered to have served the Union Army well as a lieutenant colonel. After he resigned from the Army in 1865, he began working with the Massachusetts Railroad Commission. He eventually found his way as the president of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1884. Adams pursued policies that supported business rights over those of consumers, feeling that the general public was sometimes hostile or unstable. However, these sentiments backfired while he was the president of Union Pacific, since businesses refused to collaborate and forward Adams’ policies. Adams refused to work with labor unions, like the Knights of Labor, which resulted in a horrific massacre of Chinese workers that Adams brought in. By 1890, owner Jay Gould had Adams forced out of his role.A few years later, Adams began working for the Massachusetts Park Commission, where he primarily assisted with planning park developments across the state. He also focused on historical writing, and became president of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1895. This particular work is autobiographical, but was published posthumously. Adams passed away on May 20, 1915 and is buried in Quincy, Massachusetts.
by Sergei Michailovich Trufanov
Sergei Michailovich Trufanov, also known as Hieromonk Iliodor, was born on October 19, 1880 in a small village near the Don River. Despite crushing poverty, which claimed several of his siblings, Trufanov was able to attend several years of school and then entered the local seminary. He went on to attend and graduate the St. Petersburg Theological Academy in 1905. Shortly after, he gave several sermons that attacked a variety of people and organizations, including politicians, aristocrats, revolutionaries, Jews, nationalists, and more. Soon after he apparently blackmailed Rasputin. He later apologized for his slander of Jewish people, then renounced the Russian Orthodox Church, and ultimately was defrocked.
After being banned from several monasteries, he fled to what is currently Norway. He continued to plot against Rasputin, starred as himself in a silent film, The Fall of the Romanovs in 1917, and then returned to Russia in 1918. A few years later, he moved to New York City and lived a relatively quiet life with his family while working as a janitor until his death on January 28, 1952. This story focuses on his earlier life, a time when one critic deemed him, “extravagantly psychopathic.”
by Mason Long
Mason Long was born on September 10, 1842 in Luray, Ohio. He had a very difficult childhood, and then went on to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. He spent three years in the service, and discusses drinking and gambling, and their popularity among soldiers during the War. Afterwards, he drifted among various occupations, including running variety and minstrel shows, and much time in and out of jail. He was by his own account a degenerate gambler. Later, he turned to religion, went sober and wrote this book to help others avoid going down the same path as him, as well as to support the Temperance Movement.
This new edition is dedicated to Bruce Rich, by no means drifter, gambler or teetotaler, but certainly an explorer of human nature and human folly.