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Allen, Young John William (03 January 1836–30 May 1907), missionary, educator, and journalist in China, was born in Burke County, Georgia, the son of Andrew Young John Allen and Jane Wooten. Because of the early death of both parents, Allen was raised by an aunt and uncle, Wiley and Nancy (Wooten) Hutchins, who lived in Meriwether County, Georgia. He received a sizable inheritance from his father, which financed his education at several small private schools near his home in Starrsville, Georgia, including the Baptist-run Brownwood Institute in LaGrange, Georgia, and the Morgan H. Looney schools in Palmetto, Georgia. His inheritance also allowed him to collect a personal library, which made him the envy of his classmates as early as 1850, when he was only fourteen years old. He began college work at Emory and Henry College in Virginia in 1853 but transferred to Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, in the spring of 1854. At Emory, Allen acquired the secular learning of the European tradition as well as knowledge of Christianity. His extracurricular activities included membership in a debating society and religious study groups, both of which prepared him for his subsequent careers in China....

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Armour, Richard Willard (15 July 1906–28 February 1989), educator and satirist, was born in San Pedro, California, the son of Harry Willard Armour, a drugstore owner, and Sue Wheelock. He earned a B.A. degree from Pomona College in 1927 and an M.A. from Harvard in 1928. In 1932 he married Kathleen Fauntleroy Stevens, with whom he had two children....

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Arvin, Newton (23 August 1900–22 March 1963), literary critic and educator, was born Frederick Newton Arvin, Jr., in Valparaiso, Indiana, the son of Frederick Newton Arvin, Sr., an insurance agent often away on business, and Jessie Hawkins. Arvin was rather dominated by his mother, grandmother, and four sisters, and was unfortunately regarded by his jeering father as weak and effeminate. After graduating from his local high school, he attended Harvard University (where he was greatly influenced by ...

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Bacon, Leonard (26 May 1887–01 January 1954), poet, literary critic, and teacher, was born in Solvay, New York, the son of Nathaniel Terry Bacon, a chemical engineer, and Helen Hazard. Bacon led a sheltered life at his mother’s familial estate in Peace Dale, Rhode Island. His parents enrolled him in 1898 in St. George’s at Newport, where he spent seven years preparing to matriculate at Yale, following in the footsteps not only of his father but of some twenty other relatives. Bacon gives candid insight into his college years, remembering colleagues and professors in an amiable light though remarking that “with the exception of English and German, I think we were not particularly well taught, or rather that the conception of teaching was poor” ( ...

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Baker, Carlos Heard (05 May 1909–18 April 1987), educator, author, and literary critic, was born in Biddeford, Maine, the son of Arthur Baker and Edna Heard. He grew up in what he called a “yankee and the nineteenth century German” tradition and had a great passion for literature even as a child. While still a college student, he published a collection of poems, ...

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Barnard, Henry (24 January 1811–05 July 1900), educator and editor, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Chauncey Barnard, a sea captain and farmer, and Betsey Andrews. Barnard spent his formative years in Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1830. Immediately after college he taught school in Pennsylvania for a year and loathed it. He then read law and was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1834; however, he never practiced. During the winter of 1832–1833 he spent three months in Washington, D.C., where he met many of the leading political figures of the day, and then traveled in the South. Still lacking direction, he embarked on a grand tour of Europe in March 1835; the impetus for the trip was his selection as one of the Connecticut delegates to the London international peace congress. While in England he was introduced to a number of the foremost Whig intellectuals, politicians, and reformers; at the time he seemed to be primarily interested in the cause of prison reform. After touring England he spent six months on the Continent before returning home to attend his ailing father....

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Beach, Joseph Warren (14 January 1880–13 August 1957), educator, literary critic, and poet, was born in Gloversville, New York, the son of Eugene Beach, a physician, and Sarah Jessup Warren. After graduating from a public high school there, he attended the University of Minnesota, where his uncle Cyrus Northrop was president. He earned his B.A. in English in 1900 and moved on to Harvard University, where he received his M.A. in 1902 and his Ph.D. in 1907, both in English. At Harvard Beach studied under philosopher ...

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Bleyer, Willard Grosvenor (27 August 1873–31 October 1935), journalism educator, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Albert J. Bleyer, a newspaperman, and Elizabeth Groshans. Six of Albert’s brothers also worked for newspapers. While an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin (1892–1896), Bleyer edited the student newspaper, the ...

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Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth (23 September 1848–04 October 1895), author and educator, was born in Fredriksvaern, Norway, the son of Sarolf Boyesen, a mathematics instructor in the naval academy there, and Hanna (or Helga) Tveten Hjorth, the foster daughter of Judge Hjorth of Systrand. In 1854 Sarolf Boyesen, out of favor because he had joined the Swedenborgian church, sent his family to Judge Hjorth and entered the American army, for a period of two years. Hjalmar Boyesen loved the natural setting of Systrand, relished the servants’ folktales there, was sad when he was sent away to school, and found consolation in reading and writing. He attended Latin school at Drammen and Gymnasium at Christiania and graduated from the Royal Fredriks University in 1868—adept in several languages. He obtained family permission to go to the United States, which his father had extolled as the land of freedom and opportunity....

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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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Brooks, Cleanth (16 October 1906–10 May 1994), teacher, critic, and scholar, was born in Murray, Kentucky, the son of Cleanth Brooks, Sr., an Episcopalian minister, and Bessie Lee Witherspoon. The family soon moved to Tennessee where his father served a number of parishes near Memphis. Despite their peripatetic lifestyle, Cleanth’s parents helped their shy, precocious son to find the stability that he needed by encouraging in him a devotion to the great literature of the world. Eventually, Cleanth attended the Mc Tyeire School, where, in addition to the standard academic fare of the era, he learned Greek and Latin and continued the education in classical literature that had begun at age five with his father’s present of a collections of tales from the ...

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Brown, Sterling Allen (01 May 1901–13 January 1989), professor of English, poet, and essayist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Sterling Nelson Brown, a minister and divinity school professor, and Adelaide Allen. After graduating as valedictorian from Dunbar High School in 1918, Brown matriculated at Williams College, where he studied French and English literature and won the Graves Prize for an essay on Molière and Shakespeare. He was graduated from Williams in 1922 with Phi Beta Kappa honors and a Clark fellowship for graduate studies in English at Harvard University. Once at Harvard, Brown studied with Bliss Perry and notably with ...

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Brucker, Herbert (04 October 1898–05 April 1977), newspaper editor, syndicated columnist, and teacher, was born in Passaic, New Jersey, the son of Carl Brucker, the head of Fritzsche Bros., U.S. division of Schimmel & Cie., a German chemical company, and Adele Balthasar. After graduating from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1921, Brucker reported for the ...

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Campbell, James Edwin (28 September 1867–26 January 1896), African-American poet and educator, was born in Pomeroy, Ohio, the son of James Campbell, a laborer, and Lethia Stark. He graduated from the Pomeroy Academy, having completed the course in Latin and German, in 1884. Entering teaching, Campbell spent the next two years in schools near Gallipolis, Ohio, and also in Rutland, Ohio, where he was offered a position as principal of the white schools, an offer he declined....

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Canby, Henry Seidel (06 September 1878–05 April 1961), educator, author, and editor, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Edward Tatnell Canby, a founder and president of the Delaware Trust Company, and Ella Augusta Seidel. Though reared in an Episcopalian family, Canby attended Quaker schools and then entered Yale, where he edited two undergraduate literary papers and earned his Ph.B. in 1899. While studying for his Ph.D. in English literature (1905) and afterward, he taught at Yale (1900–1916). He was the first professor at Yale to offer courses in American literature. Early in his career, he championed the work of ...

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Clark, Walter Van Tilburg (03 August 1909–10 November 1971), novelist and teacher, was born in East Orland, Maine, the son of Walter Ernest Clark, a teacher and university president, and Euphemia Abrams. Clark once suggested that landscape creates character, implying that landscape not only forms the person but also the writer. He was speaking of the American West, which was essential to his own writing, giving him theme and setting for all of his best works. But the irony is that, Clark was not a native westerner. He was born in the East, and instead of spending his childhood on a ranch, he was reared as the eldest child of intellectuals. His father was head of the department of economics at City College of New York and was selected president of the University of Nevada in 1917; and his mother was a talented amateur musician. Being an outsider and an intellectual made Clark even more aware not only of landscape, but also of people’s relations to one another and to the natural world....

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Clifford, James Lowry (24 February 1901–07 April 1978), biographer, literary critic, and professor of literature, was born in Evansville, Indiana, the son of George Clifford, a businessman and amateur astronomer, and Emily Orr. In 1918 he attended Wabash College in nearby Crawfordsville, where he studied science, graduating in 1923 with an A.B. and Phi Beta Kappa honors. Two years later he received a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After several years in business back in Evansville, managing the manufacture of railroad coal cars, he relocated to Tucson, Arizona, where he taught mathematics, polo, and English at a preparatory school. Discovering in his teaching a love of literature, he entered the graduate program in English at Columbia University in 1931 and gained his M.A. the next year....

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Cobb, Cully Alton (25 February 1884–07 May 1975), agricultural educator, editor, and publisher, was born in a log cabin on the farm of his paternal grandfather near Prospect, Tennessee, the son of Napoleon Bonaparte Cobb, a farmer and rural minister, and Mary Agnes Woodward. Cobb attended public school in Giles County, Tennessee, and Decatur, Alabama. He entered Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Mississippi State University) in 1904 and graduated in 1908 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture. From 1908 to 1910 he served as principal of Chickasaw County Agricultural High School at Buena Vista, Mississippi. The first of fifty such institutions established in the state between 1908 and 1920, the school afforded rural youths a college-preparatory education as well as practical training in farming. In 1910 he married Ora May “Byrdie” Ball, with whom he had two children....

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Coffin, Robert Peter Tristram (18 March 1892–20 January 1955), poet and teacher, was born in Brunswick, Maine, the son of James William Coffin, a farmer, and Alice Mary Coombs. Robert spent his early years living on various islands off the coast of Maine, where often the nearest neighbor was two or more miles away. While his father created working farms out of this wilderness, the ten Coffin children learned far more than a formal education under the tutelage of their mother; they were taught to adapt the rugged surroundings to their needs, whether in collecting berries and fish for preserves or steaming oak strips over a boiling kettle to bend boat ribs. These early lessons instilled in Coffin a love of Maine and its wilderness that would later reemerge, meshed with a strong New England Puritanism, as the foundation of much of his literary work....

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Creeley, Robert White (21 May 1926–30 March 2005), poet and prose writer, was born Robert White Creeley in Arlington, Massachusetts, to Dr. Oscar Slade Creeley and Genevieve Jules Creeley. His childhood was marked by two tragedies, the loss of an eye in an accident and the death of his father, both by age five. His father had been a successful physician and ran a clinic, but his death at the onset of the Great Depression left Robert and his sister, Helen, to be raised in greatly reduced circumstances by their mother, who worked as a nurse, and other female relatives. In later life Creeley attributed an uncertainty about “manliness” to the dearth of male role models in his household; and to his family’s resolute puritanism he attributed both an early confusion toward sexuality and a sense of moral responsibility. As a teenager he attended Holderness School, a prep school in New Hampshire, and then entered Harvard in 1943. After a difficult year as a student he left to join the American Field Service as an ambulance driver in India and Southeast Asia, returning to Harvard following the war but leaving just short of a degree....