1. David Hackett Souter was born Sept. 17, 1939, in Melrose, Mass. His parents were Joseph, a banker, and Helen, a shop worker.
2. Souter's family has a long history in New England, dating to before the Revolutionary War; Ethan Allen is one of Souter's ancestors. Other relatives include a Lincoln supporter and an Underground Railroad worker.
3. When Souter was 11, he and his parents moved to a family farm in Weare, N.H., just outside Concord. He still lives there today.
4. Souter graduated from Concord High School, where his senior classmates voted him "most sophisticated" and "most likely to succeed."
5. He studied philosophy at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude in 1961. (He wrote his undergraduate thesis on Oliver Wendell Holmes.) He then received a Rhodes Scholarship, studying jurisprudence for two years at Magdalen College, Oxford. Souter then returned to Harvard, this time for law school.
6. After law school, Souter worked as an associate at a private firm for two years before joining the New Hampshire attorney general's office. He would later serve as attorney general and on the state Supreme Court. He was a recent appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston when President George H.W. Bush nominated him for the Supreme Court.
7. Souter worked for Warren Rudman in New Hampshire, and the former senator proved to be an important mentor throughout Souter's career. The two are good friends, as well: During his confirmation hearings, Souter stayed at Rudman's Washington home until he could rent an apartment of his own.
8. Souter and his judicial philosophy were not widely known when he was nominated to the Supreme Court. He met President George H.W. Bush for the first time when he was being considered for the post. In an interview, then Justice Thurgood Marshall described his reaction to the surprise choice: "Never heard of him."
9. Souter is known as private, self-effacing, and frugal. He often brings his own lunch to the office and, at the time of his confirmation, claimed not to own a color television set.
10. When the Supreme Court is not in session, Souter enjoys hiking in New Hampshire's White Mountains. He is also a voracious reader of law, history, philosophy, and literature.