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Adler, Cyrus (13 September 1863–07 April 1940), academic administrator and Jewish communal leader, was born in Van Buren, Arkansas, to Samuel Adler, a merchant and planter, and Sarah Sulzberger. At an early age Adler’s family moved to Philadelphia and then to New York, where his father died in 1867. The family returned to Philadelphia, where his mother’s brother, David Sulzberger, became head of the household and was a great influence on Adler’s upbringing. As a boy, Adler received an intensive education in Judaic subjects from a consortium of Philadelphia rabbis, headed by ...

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Alexander, Joseph Addison (24 April 1809–28 January 1860), Presbyterian scholar and minister, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Janetta Waddel and Archibald Alexander, a Presbyterian minister. Alexander, who was always called Addison, grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where in 1812 his father was called to be the first professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. At an early age, Alexander displayed the ability in languages that would make him a marvel throughout his life. By the time he began formal instruction with local tutors, his father had taught him the rudiments of Latin and Greek and also introduced him to Semitic languages. By the time he graduated from the College of New Jersey as a seventeen-year old in 1826, he had read the Koran in Arabic, made considerable progress in Persian and Syriac, and begun the wide-ranging study of contemporary European languages that he never stopped. It was his habit, begun before entering college and continuing to the week of his death, to read the Bible daily in at least six languages. Alexander’s nephew and biographer, Henry Carrington Alexander, concluded that he read, wrote, and spoke Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese; that he read without helps and wrote Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Greek, Romaic, and Chaldean; that he could read Ethiopic, Dutch, Sanskrit, Syriac, Coptic, Danish, Flemish, and Norwegian; and that he knew enough Polish, Swedish, Malay, Hindustani, and Chinese to peruse works in these languages. The linguistic marvel was also a social recluse who never married and who, despite great interest in travel and world affairs, lived contentedly in Princeton as a student and professor his whole life. ...

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Andrews, Lorrin (29 April 1795–29 September 1868), missionary and educator, was born in East Windsor (now Vernon), Connecticut, the son of Samuel Andrews and his wife, whose name is unknown. Andrews grew up on the frontier in Kentucky and Ohio and later attended Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. After graduation he studied at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where he graduated in 1825. He worked as a mechanic and printer while in school, and later as a teacher. On 26 April 1827 he volunteered his services to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and was accepted for work in the Sandwich Islands, as Hawaii was then called. His various job experiences and his life in rough pioneer country where hard work was valued prepared him well for his missionary tasks....

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Auslander, Joseph (11 October 1897–22 June 1965), poet, editor, and translator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Louis Auslander and Martha Asyueck. He attended Columbia University from 1914 to 1915, then transferred to Harvard, receiving his B.A. in 1917. In 1919 he became an instructor in English at Harvard. He pursued graduate studies there until 1924, with the interruption of one year (1921–1922) at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he went on a Parker Traveling Fellowship. His poetry began to appear in national magazines in 1919, and his first volume, ...

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Leonard A. Gordon

Avery, John (18 September 1837–01 September 1887), linguist, was born in Conway, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Avery and Sylvia Clary. Early in life he struck out on his own, attended Williston Seminary, and graduated from Amherst College in 1861. He taught at Leicester Academy and from 1862 to 1863 tutored at Amherst. The college awarded him an M.A. in 1864....

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Barton, George Aaron (12 November 1859–28 June 1942), Assyriologist and biblical scholar, was born in East Farnham, Quebec, Canada, the son of Daniel Barton, a farmer and blacksmith, and Mary Stevens Bull. He attended the Oakwood Seminary, Poughkeepsie, New York, becoming a minister of the Society of Friends in 1879, and graduated from Haverford College with an A.B. in 1882 and an M.A. in 1885. Around 1883 he moved to Boston, where he worked in insurance for a year, then from 1884 to 1889 taught mathematics and classics at the Friends School in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1884 he married Caroline Brewer Danforth; they adopted one child. In 1889 he entered Harvard Graduate School (M.A. 1890), where he studied Assyriology with David G. Lyon and Semitics and the Bible with Crawford H. Toy and Joseph H. Thayer. In 1891 he received his Ph.D. for a study, “The Semitic Ishtar Cult,” later published in the ...

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See Berlitz, Maximilian D.

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Berlitz, Maximilian D. (14 April 1852–06 April 1921), and Charles F. Berlitz (23 November 1914–18 December 2003), linguist, language teacher, and author.,

Accounts differ on the name and birthplace of Maximilian Berlitz, both of which are officially reported by the company he founded, Berlitz International, as Maximilian Delphinius Berlitz, born in 1852 in the Black Forest region of Germany, a descendant of a long line of teachers and mathematicians. Other sources affirm that he was born David Berlitzheimer (or Berlizheimer) in Mühringen (or Württemberg), Germany, the son of a synagogue cantor, and that he shortened his name soon after immigrating to the United States in 1870. Charles Berlitz was born Charles L. Frambach, the son of Charles L. Frambach and Melicent Berlitz, the daughter of Maximilian Berlitz, in New York City....

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Blackburn, Paul (24 November 1926–13 September 1971), poet and translator, was born in Saint Albans, Vermont, the son of William Blackburn and Frances Frost, a poet and novelist. Blackburn’s parents separated in 1930. His father left for California; his mother pursued a literary career, eventually settling in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Blackburn was left in the care of his strict maternal grandparents. His grandmother required little pretext for whipping him regularly, and his grandfather, who worked for the railroad, was away from home for long stretches at a time. In late poems such as “My Sainted,” he reveals his bitterness about his early childhood....

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Bloch, Bernard (18 June 1907–26 November 1965), linguist, was born in New York City, the son of Albert Bloch, a painter and professor of art, and Hortense Altheimer Bloch. Bernard Bloch spent ten years of his childhood in Munich, Germany, where his father associated with Der Blaue Reiter group that included Paul Klee (1879–1940) and Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944). In 1923 Bernard's father returned to the United States and took the family to Lawrence, Kansas, where he continued his career at the University of Kansas. There Bernard completed high school and went on to major in English at the university, earning a bachelor of arts degree in 1928 and a master of arts in comparative literature in 1929. His course of study focused on literature but also included Latin, Greek, German, Gothic, Old and Middle English, and the history of the English language....

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Bloomfield, Leonard (01 April 1887–18 April 1949), linguist, was born in Chicago, the son of Sigmund Bloomfield and Carola Buber, who ran a resort hotel in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Bloomfield received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1906. He began his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, where he also served as assistant in German, a language he spoke natively. Deciding to pursue a career in linguistics, he transferred to the University of Chicago, which awarded him a Ph.D. in 1909 for a dissertation on “A Semasiologic Differentiation in Germanic Secondary Ablaut.” Also in 1909 Bloomfield married Alice Sayers. They had no children of their own but adopted two boys....

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Bolling, George Melville (13 April 1871–02 June 1963), classical philologist and linguist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of William Nicholls Bolling and Hannah Lamb Bonham. Bolling’s teacher, master Hellenist Basil L. Gildersleeve, described him as “a gentleman by birth and breeding.” The Bollings and Lambs traced their ancestors back to seventeenth-century Virginia....

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Breasted, James Henry (27 August 1865–02 December 1935), historian and Egyptologist, was born in Rockford, Illinois, the son of Charles Breasted and Harriet Newell Garrison, owners of a small hardware business. Breasted grew up in a family of limited means. Although he entered North Central College (then Northwestern College) at Naperville, Illinois, at the age of fifteen, he did not obtain his B.A. until 1888, as he interrupted his studies in 1882 to attend Chicago College of Pharmacy and to serve an apprenticeship in a pharmacy. Meanwhile he worked as a clerk in local drugstores to finance his studies. In 1886 he graduated as a pharmacist, but at the insistence of an aunt and with her financial support he entered Chicago Theological Seminary in 1887. His doubts about the inerrancy of the biblical text dissuaded him from a career in the ministry, and in 1890 he enrolled in Yale University to pursue graduate studies in Hebrew with ...

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Brickman, William Wolfgang (30 June 1913–22 June 1986), scholar of the history of education and of comparative education, was born in New York City, the son of David Shalom Brickman, a cutter in the clothing industry, and Chaya Sarah Shaber. After attending Jewish religious elementary and secondary schools in New York City, Brickman entered the City College of New York, where he earned a B.A. in education in 1934 and an M.S. in education in 1935. He received a Ph.D. in education, with a dissertation on Hermann Lietz, an early twentieth-century German educational reformer, from New York University (NYU) in 1938....

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Buck, Carl Darling (02 October 1866–08 February 1955), linguist and educator, was born in Orlando, Maine, the son of Edward Buck and Emeline Darling. Buck’s father was involved in lumbering and shipbuilding. Like his father, Buck attended Yale College, passing the entrance examination before his sixteenth birthday. His undergraduate and graduate studies (interrupted by a year’s stay in Italy and Greece) culminated in 1889 by his receiving the Ph.D.; the title of his thesis was “The Choregia in Athens and at Ikaria,” partly published in the ...

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Bühler, Karl (27 May 1879–24 October 1963), psychologist and theorist of language, was born in Meckesheim, in the state of Baden, Germany. Both his parents, whose names are unknown, were of peasant stock; his father was a railway official. After attending school in Meckesheim and in nearby Tauberbischofsheim, he studied natural sciences and medicine at the University of Freiburg, receiving a medical degree in 1903 for research on the physiology of vision. After further study at the University of Strasbourg, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1904. Accounts of the following months differ. Some sources state that Bühler worked briefly as a ship’s physician; others say that he studied under psychologists Carl Stumpf in Berlin and Benno Erdmann in Bonn....

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Campanius, Johan (15 August 1601–17 September 1683), first European to translate a religious document into a Native-American language, thought to have been the was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of Reverend Jonas Peter Campanius, rector of St. Klara’s Church. (His mother’s name is unknown.) He was ordained in 1633 after graduating from the University of Uppsala. The name Holm was often added to his name to indicate that he was from Stockholm....

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Ciardi, John (24 June 1916–30 March 1986), poet-translator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Carminantonio Ciardi, an insurance premium collector, and Concetta Di Benedictis. Ciardi was delivered by a midwife at his parents’ home in Boston’s Little Italy. Three years later his father died in an automobile accident, and his mother moved her family seven miles away to Medford, where the poet grew up across the street from the Mystic River. After high school, he went to Bates College in Maine for a year and a half before transferring to Tufts College in Medford for financial reasons. He majored in English and learned poetry from John Holmes, himself an accomplished poet-teacher, who became a surrogate father for Ciardi. He graduated with honors in 1938 and went to the University of Michigan to study poetry with Roy Cowden. There he won the Avery Hopwood Poetry Award in 1939, the same year he received an M.A. in English....

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Clay, Albert Tobias (04 December 1866–14 September 1925), Assyriologist, was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, the son of John Martin Clay, a machinist, and Mary Barbara Sharpe. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1889 and from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, in 1892, with ordination in 1893. He then went to the University of Pennsylvania as the first fellow there in Assyriology to study with ...

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Crane, Thomas Frederick (12 July 1844–09 December 1927), linguist, scholar, and educator, was born in New York City, the son of Thomas Sexton, a successful merchant, and Charlotte Nuttman. His early life was spent traveling between New York and New Orleans, where his father’s business was based. He had little formal education during these years, but his mother taught him to read. He enjoyed the New Orleans Municipal Library, and his father always brought back books for him when he returned home....