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Johnston, John Taylor (08 April 1820–24 March 1893), railroad president and art patron, was born in New York City, the son of John Johnston, a banker, and Margaret Taylor. His parents, who had come from Scotland, took Johnston on one of their periodic visits to their homeland; he studied briefly at Edinburgh High School and was named “dux” (top pupil) of his class. He graduated from the University of the City of New York (now New York University) in 1839 and proceeded to study law, first at the Yale College law school (1839–1841) and then in the New York office of Daniel Lord. Admitted to the New York bar in 1843, Johnston soon found that the profession did not engage his interests fully. He traveled abroad for two years, before returning to the United States and commencing his career in the field of railroad development....

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Scull, Robert Cooper (1917–01 January 1986), art collector and patron and business executive, was born on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of Mayo Scull, a tailor. His parents were Russian immigrants whose name, originally Sokolnikoff, was changed to Scull at Ellis Island. Upon his arrival in New York, his father took a job sewing and designing with the fashionable department store Bergdorf-Goodman. Eventually the Sculls moved to the Upper West Side, where Robert attended DeWitt Clinton High School for advanced students. Unfortunately, he was forced to drop out of high school because of the Great Depression, and it was another nine years before he actually earned his diploma. In order to help his family during those trying times, he refinished furniture, made and sold his own soap, and even hustled pool. He was motivated to complete high school because of his interest in business, but at the same time his grandfather was broadening his horizons by taking him to museums and to the opera. Scull became increasingly fascinated by art and began taking classes at the Art Students League, the Pratt Institute, and the Textile High School on a part-time basis. Meanwhile, he worked at a wide assortment of day jobs—artist’s model, appliance repairman, and retail salesman—to pay the bills. Peter Wild, an artist for whom he occasionally modeled, gave him drawing lessons in return for his services, and in a short time Scull added commercial illustration to his résumé....