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Bassett, Edward Murray (07 February 1863–27 October 1948), city planner and lawyer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Charles Ralph Bassett, a traveling peddler, and Elvira Rogers, a former school teacher. In 1871 the family moved to Watertown, New York, where Bassett attended local schools while his father sold dry goods in nearby villages. Bassett proved an excellent student and, despite his father’s disapproval, he entered Hamilton College on scholarship, hoping to become a teacher of Greek and Latin. Halfway through his second year, he transferred to Amherst College, graduating with an A.B. degree and several prizes in 1884. He then taught school in New York City while attending Columbia Law School at night. After receiving his LL.B. degree in 1886, Bassett moved to Buffalo, where he and his brother established Bassett Bros., a firm that built and ran waterworks for nearby towns. In 1890 he married Annie Rebecca Preston; they would have five children. His company closed in 1892, having earned a modest profit....

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Bradley, William Czar (23 March 1782–04 March 1867), politician and attorney, was born in Westminster, Vermont, the son of Stephen Row Bradley, an attorney and U.S. senator, and Merab Atwater, who died soon after his birth. He contracted scarlet fever at age two, and it is likely that the disease resulted in hearing loss, which became pronounced. During his early years Bradley lived with his grandparents in Cheshire, Connecticut, and began school at Charlestown, New Hampshire....

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Geddes, James (22 July 1763–19 August 1838), civil engineer, judge, and surveyor, was born of Scottish parents (names unknown) near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. As a youth, Geddes studied mathematics with a tutor and studied languages independently. In 1793 he visited the area that later became New York state’s Onondaga County; he moved there the following year. He organized one of the state’s first salt works, helping to establish the salt industry, which would dominate the area’s economy for many years....

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White, Stanford (09 November 1853–25 June 1906), architect, was born in New York City, the son of Richard Grant White, a writer and music critic, and Alexina Black Mease, a poet. The family lacked funds to send him to college, and in 1870, having exhibited some artistic talent, White followed the advice of ...

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Stanford White (1895). Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ61-1847).