Benjamin Franklin (17061790) was a Founding Father of the United States and the first US ambassador to France. Among his myriad accomplishments are the inventions of the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. From 1785 to 1788 he served as the governor of Pennsylvania.
Ulysses S. Grant (18221885) was the eighteenth president of the United States and commanded the Union Army to victory in the Civil War. Published posthumously, his autobiography has long been recognized as one of the finest and most revealing personal accounts of the Civil War.
Andrew Carnegie (18351919) was a Scottish-American industrialist, railroad man, and steel magnate whose charitable giving and life philosophies ("The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced") made him one of the most captivating figures in American history. After selling his Pittsburgh-based steel company to J. P. Morgan, Carnegie spent the remaining years of his life giving away roughly $350 million (the equivalent of almost $5 trillion today) to universities and charities around the world. A self-proclaimed positivist, his influence and beneficence are reflected in the names of institutions such as Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Henry Adams (18381918) was a noted American intellectual, historian, and man of letters. Born in Boston into one of the nations most prominent political families, he attended Harvard University, graduating in 1858. From 1861 to 1868 Adams served as private secretary to his father, Charles Francis Adams Sr., whom President Abraham Lincoln had appointed minister to England. Following his return to America, Adams became a journalist in Washington, DC, frequently calling for reform and the ousting of political scoundrels. Ultimately disillusioned with the world of politics, he took a position as professor of medieval history at Harvard. His writings include two novels and numerous biographies and histories, including his nine-volume The History of the United States of America (1801 to 1817). His memoir, The Education of Henry Adams (1907), is widely considered to be among the finest autobiographies ever written in the English language. Adams died at the age of eighty in Washington, DC.