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Alden, Henry Mills (11 November 1836–07 October 1919), editor and author, was born in Mount Tabor, Vermont, the son of Ira Alden, a farmer, and Elizabeth Packard Moore. Alden grew up in a working-class family in rural Vermont and in the manufacturing town of Hoosick, New York, where he worked from dawn until eight o’clock at night as a “bobbin boy” in a cotton factory. With only a sporadic common school education, Alden, at the age of fourteen, decided to prepare for college by entering Ball Seminary, where he performed chores to pay for his tuition. In 1852 Alden graduated valedictorian from Ball Seminary and entered Williams College the next year....

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Allen, Paul (15 February 1775–18 August 1826), editor and poet, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Paul Allen, Sr., a Rhode Island state representative, and Polly Cooke, the daughter of a governor of that state. In 1793 he graduated from Brown University (then Rhode Island College), where he displayed talent as an orator. Several of his orations were published, the earliest being a eulogy on a classmate delivered on 22 November 1792. Allen studied law but never practiced; indeed, most sources follow ...

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Benét, William Rose (02 February 1886–04 May 1950), poet and editor, was born in Fort Hamilton, New York, the son of James Walker Benét, an army ordnance officer, and Frances Neill Rose. He attended the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, graduating in 1907. While at Yale, Benét edited the ...

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Bostwick, Arthur Elmore (08 March 1860–13 February 1942), editor and librarian, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of David Elmore Bostwick, a physician, and Adelaide McKinley. Bostwick took advantage of the cultural assets in his hometown, reading periodicals from a neighbor’s private library, studying romance and classical languages, participating in music ensembles, and attending the Episcopal church where his mother was organist. His innate intellectual abilities were thus stimulated, laying the foundation for an active life of the mind. He attended Yale College, won the first Silliman Fellowship in physical science, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and earned a B.A. in 1881 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1883. Aspiring to a college professorship, he declined an appointment as a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in favor of a temporary position at Yale but, when a permanent post was not forthcoming, he moved to Montclair, New Jersey, where he taught high school from 1884 to 1886. In 1885 Bostwick married Lucy Sawyer, with whom he had three children....

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Bowker, R. R. (04 September 1848–12 November 1933), editor, publisher, and reformer, was born Richard Rogers Bowker in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Rogers Bowker, a manufacturer of barrel machinery, and Theresa Maria Savory. Although Bowker’s education began in Salem, the majority of it took place in New York City, where his parents moved in 1857 after the failure of a family business. He attended the College of the City of New York, becoming the editor of ...

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Brower, David (01 July 1912–05 November 2000), editor and environmentalist, was born David Ross Brower in Berkeley, California, the son of Ross John Brower, an instructor in mechanical drawing at the University of California, and Mary Grace Barlow Brower. After dropping out of the University of California in 1931, Brower worked as a clerk in a Bay Area candy store and did publicity work for the Curry Company in Yosemite National Park, where he also filled in as an occasional tour guide. An accomplished mountain climber, he participated in first ascents of seventy peaks in the Sierra Nevada range and led the first ascent of Shiprock in New Mexico in 1939. Brower joined the Sierra Club in 1933 and eight years later was named a member of the club's board of directors. In 1943 Brower married Anne Hus, an editor with the University of California Press, which had hired Brower as an editor in 1941. The Browers had four children. As a member of the Tenth Mountain Division in Italy during World War II, Lieutenant Brower was awarded the Bronze Star for service as a combat intelligence officer during the final assaults on German positions in the Apennines....

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Carter, Robert (05 February 1819–15 February 1879), author and editor, was born in Albany, New York, the son of Irish immigrants (names unknown). Although most of the details of Carter’s early life remain sketchy, he was apparently raised in conditions of wretched poverty. His education came from his sporadic sojourns at public schools, until he eventually attended the Jesuit College of Chambly in Canada. He quit school at fifteen, and he was appointed assistant librarian in the state library in Albany, where he remained until 1838. By age twenty he had decided to embark on a career in journalism, having already published some poetry and essays in the Albany newspapers. In 1841 he moved to Boston, and there he met ...

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Covici, Pascal Avram (04 November 1885–14 October 1964), book publisher and editor, was born in Botosani, Romania, the son of Wolf Covici, a vintner, and Schfra Barish. When he was twelve years old Covici, who went by “Pat,” immigrated with his parents and his sister to Chicago, where his six brothers owned half a dozen retail stores. He attended the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago but did not graduate from either and then worked as a manager of his brothers’ stores. In 1915 he married Dorothy Soll of Chicago; they had one son....

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Malcolm Cowley Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1963. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106863).

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Cowley, Malcolm (24 August 1898–28 March 1989), literary critic and editor, was born in a farmhouse near Belsano, Pennsylvania, the son of William Cowley, a homeopathic physician, and Josephine Hutmacher. After attending Pittsburgh public schools, in which he began a lifelong friendship with the critic ...

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Derleth, August William (24 February 1909–04 July 1971), author and editor, was born in Sauk City, Wisconsin, the son of William Julius Derleth, a worker in a wagon and blacksmith shop, and Rose Louise Volk. Derleth began his education in Catholic schools but finished in the local public system. He started writing short fiction at age thirteen, sold his first story at sixteen, and created his fictional detective Solar Pons while a student at the University of Wisconsin, from which he graduated with a B.A. in 1930....

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Donahoe, Patrick (17 March 1811–18 March 1901), editor and publisher, was born in County Caven, Ireland, the son of Terrence Donahoe and Jane Christy. The father’s occupation is unknown, but the family was clearly poor. In 1821 Patrick and his father immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where the boy received a basic education and entered the printing trades in 1825. Patrick worked as a printer for several Boston newspapers and became co-owner of ...

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Doran, George Henry (19 December 1869–07 January 1956), book publisher, was born in Toronto, Canada, the son of Annie Oliver and James Doran. Little is known of Doran’s parents; in his autobiography, Doran stressed principally their staunch Presbyterianism and described his father only as a “simple-minded inventive genius of few words.” Doran left school at fourteen, attracted by a sign in the window of the Willard Tract Depository reading, “Smart Boy Wanted.” After working for this religious publishing company for nearly ten years, in 1892 he moved to Chicago, where he became a traveling salesman for another religious publisher, ...

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Duyckinck, Evert Augustus (23 November 1816–13 August 1878), editor, author, and bibliophile, was born in New York City, the son of Evert Duyckinck, a wealthy publisher and book collector, and Harriet June. He graduated from Columbia College in 1835. He either wrote or cowrote the only issue of ...

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Duyckinck, George Long (17 October 1823–30 March 1863), author and editor, was born in New York City, the son of Evert Duyckinck, book publisher, and Harriet June. Duyckinck, whose reputation has been almost eclipsed by that of his older brother, the more outgoing and prolific ...

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Farrar, John Chipman (25 February 1896–05 November 1974), editor and publisher, was born in Burlington, Vermont, the son of Edward Donaldson Farrar, an advertising copywriter, and Sally Wright, a librarian. While in high school Farrar wrote three plays, and when he entered Yale University in 1914 he joined the ...

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Fields, James Thomas (31 December 1817–24 April 1881), publisher, editor, writer, and lecturer, was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the son of Michael Fields, a sea captain, and Margaret Beck Fields. His father died at sea before James's fourth birthday, leaving his devoted mother little more than the modest house where she raised her two sons. A gregarious and book-loving boy, James completed high school at the age of thirteen, then headed for Boston. Although college was never an option, a family friend arranged what turned out to be the next best thing: an apprenticeship with the booksellers Carter and Hendee at what is still known as the Old Corner Bookstore. Remaining at that workplace after Carter and Hendee sold out to Allen and Ticknor in 1832, and after ...

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Fischer, John (27 April 1910–18 August 1978), writer and editor, was born in Texhoma, Oklahoma, the son of John S. Fischer, a newspaperman, farm-supply salesman, deed assessor, and land speculator, and Georgie Caperton, a former schoolteacher. Fischer spent his first years in the vast and underpopulated Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. As soon as he could walk, he had chores. “At the age of six,” he remembered, these “included taking care of a pen of chickens, smelly addlebrained creatures that I loathed.” In high school and college, he worked for newspapers in Amarillo, Carlsbad, and Norman. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1932, he was a night police reporter for the ...

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Folsom, Charles (24 December 1794–08 November 1872), librarian and editor, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of James Folsom and Sarah Gilman (occupations unknown). After preparation at Phillips Exeter Academy, Folsom entered Harvard College as a sophomore in 1810. He taught school at Sudbury during winter vacations and graduated from Harvard in 1813. He then taught at the academy in Hallowell, Maine, and in the fall of 1814 returned to Cambridge to study divinity. After giving that up, he made arrangements to study medicine, but instead, on the recommendation of Harvard president John T. Kirkland, sailed in 1816 to the Mediterranean on the 74-gun ship of the line ...

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Ford, Guy Stanton (09 May 1873–29 December 1962), historian, editor, and academic administrator, was born in Liberty Corners, Salem Township, Wisconsin, the son of Thomas D. Ford, a medical doctor, and Helen E. Shumway, a teacher. During Guy’s early childhood, his father’s drinking and business failures forced his mother, with her two sons, to move in with a series of relatives, eventually leading them to Sutherland, Iowa, in 1883. Shortly thereafter his father moved to Plainfield, Iowa, a town of about 300 people. In 1884 the family reunited in Plainfield. Thomas Ford was an extremely impractical man and the family lived in relative poverty throughout Guy’s years in Plainfield....