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Beer, Thomas (22 November 1888?–18 April 1940), writer, was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the son of William Collins Beer, a corporate attorney and lobbyist, and Martha Ann Alice Baldwin. Though born in western Iowa, Thomas Beer spent most of his childhood in Yonkers, New York, with summers in Nantucket and on his grandfather’s farm in Bucyrus, Ohio. Wealth and position from his father’s Wall Street business gave Beer a distinct sense of social superiority, which he manifested in personal relations and cultural criticisms. Despising the bourgeoisie, the working-class masses, and the chic lifestyles of the Jazz Age, Beer projected an image of extreme conservatism and tesselated sophistication. At Yale, class of 1911, he was class poet, lifelong friend of the actor Monty Wooley, editor of the literary review, and contributor of twenty stories, essays, and poems. After college he spent five years as a dilatory student in the Columbia law school and as clerk in his father’s law firm, but when his father died at his professional nadir in 1916, Beer turned to letters. His first important short story—“The Brothers”—was published a few months later in the ...

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Eaton, Amos (17 May 1776–10 May 1842), geologist, botanist, and educational reformer, was born in Chatham, New York, the son of Azubah Hurd and Abel Eaton, farmers. In 1790 Eaton went to Duanesburgh, New York, to live with a relative, Russell Beebe, who taught him land surveying. A blacksmith by trade, Beebe helped Eaton manufacture his own surveying instruments. From 1791 to 1795, Eaton studied the classics under private tutors in Chatham and nearby Hillsdale. He entered Williams College in 1795 and graduated in 1799. Also in 1799, Eaton began to study law in Spencertown, New York, and married Polly Thomas. They had one child before Polly died in 1802. The earliest hint of Eaton’s promise as an educator was realized with the publication of his surveying manual, ...

Article

Edwards, Monroe (1808–27 January 1847), slave trader, swindler, and forger, was born in Danville, Kentucky. He was said to have been the son of Major Amos Edwards; his mother’s name is not known. Details of his family background are obscure, but he was connected to the notable Kentucky Edwards family that produced, among others, a U.S. senator and a chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court....

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Griswold, Rufus Wilmot (13 February 1815–27 August 1857), editor and anthologist, was born on a farm in Benson, Vermont, the son of Rufus Griswold, a tanner and farmer, and Deborah Wass. Griswold’s early career consisted of a series of editorial and printing jobs for small-town papers in Vermont and New York. When ...

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Mickley, Joseph Jacob (24 March 1799–15 February 1878), numismatist, was born in Catasauqua, Northall Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Jacob Mickley and Eva Catherine Schrieber, farmers. At seventeen Mickley moved to Philadelphia, where he finished an apprenticeship in making pianos and in 1822 began a musical-instrument-making business. He developed a fine reputation for repair and restoration of stringed instruments. In 1831 the Franklin Institute awarded him a prize for his skill in manufacturing pianos. Mickley was married twice, first to Cordelia Hopfeldt and then to Diana Blummer, and had six children (dates and number of children for each marriage are unknown)....