Immigrants Hall of Fame
Political writer and philosopher. His writings helped turn American public opinion to the cause of independence during the Revolutionary War.
Born in Thetford, England. His father, a Quaker, made corsets. Paine was apprenticed to this fathers trade but ran away from home at the age of 19. The young man was at times a tobacconist, grocer, teacher, and customs officer. In 1774 he came to Philadelphia.
Soon after the opening of the War for Independence, Paine wrote "Common Sense," published on January 10, 1776. This pamphlet, which sold 120,000 copies in three months, convinced Americans that no compromise with Great Britain was possible. Paine later wrote "The Crisis" to rally patriot sentiment. It began:
"These are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from service of his country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
When the French Revolution broke out and while he was in England, Paine wrote "The Rights of Man," which denounced monarchy and contended that the natural role of government is to guarantee the natural rights of man. The influence of his work was so great that Paine left England to avoid prosecution for sedition.
Paine was made a French citizen in 1792 and was elected to the National Convention. In 1794 he wrote "The Age of Reason," which affirmed his belief in God but rejected Christian dogma. This shocked many of his contemporaries.
Paine returned to the United States in 1802. President Thomas Jefferson befriended him, but enemies denounced Paine as an atheist and a drunkard. Paine became a social outcast in New York City, where he died.
Jurist and statesman. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he proposed the New Jersey Plan, which would have provided for a weaker federal government that that adopted, and would have given states equal representation in Congress. Some features of the plan, however, were adopted in the Constitution, which Paterson signed. Born in Ireland and was taken to America as an infant. He was elected U.S. Senator from New Jersey, 1789-90, and governor of New Jersey, 1790-93. He was a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1793-1806. Paterson, New Jersey, is named for him.
Cabinetmaker and furniture designer. Born in Scotland, came to the U.S. in 1783. Phyfe opened a furniture shop in New York City in 1790. His designs were characterized by exact proportions, graceful curves, and simple ornamentation.
Motion picture actress. For a time married to Douglas Fairbanks Sr. She starred in such silent films as "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" an "Pollyanna."
She was called "Americas Sweetheart" because of her youthful charm and golden curls. Her original name was Gladys Marie Smith. Born in Toronto, Canada. In 1929 she received an Academy Award for her fist talking role, in "Coquette."
Operatic and concert soprano known for her pure tone and flexibility of her coloratura voice, especially in the role of Gilda in "Rigoletto" and of Rosina in "Barber of Seville." Born in Cannes, France, became a U.S. citizen in 1940. She sang for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She also performed in motion pictures and on radio and television.
A Vedic scholar and spiritual leader of the Hare Krishna movement in the United States. Born in Cacutta, India. In 1950 he retired from married life to devote more time to his studies and writing. His masterpiece wasa multivolume commentated translation of the 18,000-verse "Bhagavata Purana." The swami came to the U.S. in 1965, practically penniless. He established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which as grown to a worldwide confederation of more than one hundred affiliates. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established to publish his works, has become the world's largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.
Physicist and inventor. He invented the tuned oscillating circuit, which made possible the simultaneous transmission of several messages. Another invention increased the distance of long-line telephoning by inserting inductors, or loading coils, at frequent intervals. Pupin also devised a means of rapid X-ray photography by use of a fluorescent screen. Born in Idvor, Hungary. Came to the U.S. at the age of 16. Became a U.S. citizen in 1883. His autobiography, "From Immigrant to Inventor," received the Pulitzer Prize in 1924.
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we
have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the