Christopher Marlowe (1564)

A shoemaker’s son, Marlowe attended Cambridge University and then became an actor and dramatist in London. His plays, such as Dr. Faustus and The Jew of Malta, often center on a heroic personality ruined by his own ambition. Most critics hold that the poetic beauty of his language elevates his plays’ violence to high art, and many believe that he influenced Shakespeare’s work. At 29, he was stabbed to death in a tavern brawl, possibly due to his involvement in what covert activity? Discuss
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Robert Larimore “Bobby” Riggs (1918)

Riggs began playing tennis at the age of 11, won Wimbledon when he was 21, and became one of the top-rated male tennis players of the 1940s. He retired in the early 1950s and was largely forgotten until 1973, when he proclaimed men superior to women in athletics and came out of retirement to challenge two of the top female tennis players in the world. After beating Margaret Court, he played Billie Jean King in one of the most famous tennis events of all time, “The Battle of the Sexes.” Who won? Discuss
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John Peter Wagner (1874)

Wagner was an American baseball player who led the National League in batting eight times. He entered the majors in 1897, and played for Pittsburgh most of his career. Though massively built, he was agile, leading his league in stolen bases five times and scoring almost 1,800 runs. He retired in 1917 but returned to coach the Pirates for almost two decades. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936. Fans called him “The Flying Dutchman” for his speed, but he had another nickname. What was it? Discuss
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Karl Theodor Jaspers (1883)

Jaspers was a German philosopher and psychopathologist often identified as an exponent of existentialism, although he rejected this classification. In his magnum opus, Philosophy, he argued that the aim of philosophy is practical and that its purpose is the fulfillment of human existence. He believed illumination is achieved through the experience of “limit situations” like conflict, guilt, and suffering, which define the human condition. What forced him to give up his teaching career? Discuss
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Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (1857)

Powell was a British army officer and founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, later the Girl Scouts. He was a hero of the South African War and author of Aids to Scouting, a military textbook. Upon learning that his book was being used to train boys in woodcraft, he wrote Scouting for Boys and established the Boy Scout movement in 1908. In 1910, with his sister and wife, he founded the Girl Guides. What disguise did Powell use while gathering information in war? Discuss
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