Horace Mann was born in Franklin, Massachusetts in 1796. In his youth he worked long hard hours on the family’s farm and most of his primary education consisted of dull memorization and recitation of sections of textbooks and the Bible in a one-room school house. Nevertheless, Mann learned enough Latin and Greek to be admitted to Brown University as a sophomore where he excelled in studies of ancient literature, oratory, and debating and upon graduation in 1822 he went on to read law with a mentor lawyer in Connecticut.
A Dedham school teacher, Sophia Foord, participated in many of the social reform movements of the mid-19th century. In the 1840’s she was secretary of William Lloyd Garrison’s Non Resistance Society, who with Hopedale’s Adin Ballou, was a forerunner in the development of the doctrine of non-violent civil disobedience, profoundly influencing Tolstoy, Gandhi. and Martin Luther King Jr.
Eunice Russ Ames Davis was the most famous resident of Dedham during the first decade of the twentieth century. Newspapers throughout North America published her biography often in honor of her birthday during the last decades of the nineteenth century into the first decade of the twentieth century.