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Ain, Gregory (28 March 1908–10 January 1988), architect and educator, was born Gregory Samuel Ain in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Baer Ain, who ran a small business, and Chiah Ain (maiden name unknown); the couple had recently fled Russian Tsarist rule together. In 1911 the family settled in Los Angeles. Ain was raised in Boyle Heights, a dense mixed neighborhood of Eastern European immigrants. His father, a shopkeeper, openly despised capitalism and participated in socialist political groups. In fact, his father's socialist convictions ran so deep that in 1916 he moved the family to Llano del Rio, an experimental collective farming colony in the Antelope Valley of California. The Ains were among the colony's earliest members. Although the family returned to East Los Angeles a year and a half later, the experience contributed decisively to Ain's developing political beliefs and his social conscience. Cooperative housing projects became a consistent area of exploration later, in his architectural practice....

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Angle, Paul McClelland (25 December 1900–11 May 1975), historian and museum director, was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of John Elmer Angle, a grocer, and Nellie Laverne McClelland. After spending his freshman year at Oberlin College, he transferred to Miami University at Ohio and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1922. Two years later, he received an M.A. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then took a job with the American Book Company selling textbooks and in 1925 accepted the secretaryship of a little-known historical society in Springfield, Illinois, the Abraham Lincoln Centennial Association. In 1926 he married Vesta Verne Magee, a fellow student at Miami; they had two children....

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Avery, Samuel Putnam (17 March 1822–11 August 1904), wood engraver, art dealer, and rare book and print collector, was born in New York City, the son of Samuel Avery and Hannah Parke. His father, variously listed as a shoe maker and a leather merchant, died of cholera in 1832. Through an apprenticeship in a bank-note company, Avery was able to learn the essentials of the wood-engraving trade. Officially recorded as an engraver in the 1842 New York City directory, he earned a living by engraving labels and making handbills for local merchants. At the same time he began a long involvement with the publishing trade, working for periodicals such as ...

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Albert C. Barnes Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1940. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 102 P&P).

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Barnes, Albert Coombs (02 January 1872–24 July 1951), collector, educator, and entrepreneur, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Jesse Barnes, a butcher, and Lydia A. Schafer. Barnes’s father lost his right arm in the Civil War, and his ability to support his family proved sporadic. However, Albert’s mother, to whom he was devoted, was hardworking and resourceful. Among his most vivid childhood memories were the exuberant black religious revivals and camp meetings he attended with his devout Methodist parents. Accepted at the academically demanding Central High School, which awarded bachelor’s degrees, his early interest in art was stimulated by his friendship with the future artist ...

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Bauer, Catherine Krouse (11 May 1905–22 November 1964), housing advocate and urban-planning educator, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the daughter of Jacob Louis Bauer, a highway engineer, and Alberta Louise Krouse, a suffragist. Bauer graduated from Vassar College in 1926, having spent her junior year at Cornell University studying architecture. Following graduation she lived in Paris and wrote about contemporary architecture, including the work of the modernist Le Corbusier. In New York from 1927 to 1930, she held a variety of jobs and began a friendship with the architectural and social critic ...

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Bickmore, Albert Smith (01 March 1839–12 August 1914), educator and museum director, was born in Tenant’s Harbor, St. George, Maine, the son of John Bickmore, a sea captain and shipbuilder, and Jane Seavey. Bickmore’s passion for natural history began during childhood, when he was an avid collector of shells, birds, and insects, and his enthusiasm for travel was ignited by a sailing trip with his father to Bordeaux. Following preparatory education at New London Academy in New Hampshire, Bickmore graduated from Dartmouth in 1860 with an A.B. He then enrolled in the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard to study under the renowned zoologist ...

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Bieber, Margarete (31 July 1879–25 February 1978), archaeologist and art historian, was born in Schoenau, Kreis Schwetz, West Prussia (now Przechowo, Kreis Swiece, Poland), the daughter of Jacob Heinrich Bieber, an industrialist, and Valli Bukofzer. In 1899 she went to Berlin, prepared privately and passed her ...

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Blashfield, Edwin Howland (15 December 1848–12 October 1936), artist, writer, and lecturer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William Henry Blashfield, who was in the wholesale dry goods business, and Eliza Dodd, an amateur watercolorist. After some schooling in Hartford, Connecticut, he attended the Boston Latin School, and in 1863 he went to Hanover, Germany, where he intended to study engineering. However, three months later he was forced to return to the United States, where he enrolled in the Boston Institute of Technology (later Massachusetts Institute of Technology)....

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Carlos Chávez Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1937. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103962).

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Chávez, Carlos (13 June 1899–02 August 1978), influential Mexican composer/conductor, author, and educator, of Spanish and some Indian descent, was born Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez in Mexico City, the seventh son of Augustin Chávez, an inventor, and Juvencia Ramírez, a teacher. His mother supported the children after her husband’s death in 1902. Chávez began his musical studies at an early age and studied piano, first with his elder brother Manuel, then with Asunción Parra, and later with composer and pianist Manuel M. Ponce (1910–1914) and pianist and teacher Pedro Luis Ogazón (1915–1920). Chávez credited Ogazón with introducing him to the best classical and Romantic music and with developing his musical taste and technical formation. He received little formal training in composition, concentrating instead on the piano, analysis of musical scores, and orchestration. Chávez’s maternal grandfather was Indian, and from the time Chávez was five or six his family frequently vacationed in the ancient city-state of Tlaxcala, the home of a tribe that opposed the Aztecs. He later visited such diverse Indian centers as Puebla, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Michoacan in pursuit of Indian culture, which proved a significant influence on his early works....

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Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish (22 August 1877–09 September 1947), historian of the art of Ceylon and India, metaphysician, and champion of Indian culture in the West, was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the son of Sir Mutu Coomaraswamy, a distinguished Ceylonese barrister and legislator, and Elizabeth Clay Beeby, an Englishwoman from a wealthy Kent family. Although his father died during Coomaraswamy’s infancy, his wealth, high social position, scholarly learning, and cross-cultural involvement strongly influenced his son. Coomaraswamy was brought to England in 1879, where he lived with his mother until he was sent to Wycliffe College, a preparatory school, at age twelve. In 1897 he entered University College, London, from which he graduated in 1900 with a B.S. in geology and botany. He received a D.Sc. from London University in 1906, writing on Ceylonese mineralogy and other scientific topics. Coomaraswamy was married four times: in 1902 to Ethel Mary Partridge, a weaver and needlewoman; in 1911 to Alice Richardson (also known as Ratan Devī), a singer and performer of Indian music, with whom he had two children; in 1922 to Stella Bloch, a dancer and painter; and in 1930 to Doña Luisa Runstein, a photographer, with whom he had one child. Coomaraswamy’s earliest occupation was as director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon (1902–1907), during which time he was also active in nationalistic movements to revitalize traditional Ceylonese culture. This was a concern of his that later broadened to encompass Indian art and culture and remained a lifelong commitment. In 1917 Coomaraswamy came to the United States as curator of Indian art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He remained at the Boston Museum for the remainder of his life, becoming fellow for research in Indian, Persian, and Mohammedan art in 1933....

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Cornish, Nellie Centennial (09 July 1876–07 April 1956), pianist and arts educator, was born in Greenwood, Nebraska, the daughter of Nathan Cornish, a businessman, and Jeannette Simpson. The U.S. centennial in 1876 was the source of her middle name. She founded the Cornish School of Music, now Cornish College of the Arts, a pioneer institution in the teaching of dance, music, and theater in the Pacific Northwest....

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Cret, Paul Philippe (23 October 1876–08 September 1945), architect and educator, was born in Lyons, France, the son of Paul Adolphe Cret and Ann Caroline Durand, both possibly employed in the silk industry, although after his father’s death, his mother became a dressmaker. His education began in the office of his uncle, an architect, and was continued at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyons. In 1896 he was awarded the Paris Prize, enabling him to move to Paris to attend the École there and to enroll in the Atelier Pascal. Even in a larger and more competitive venue Cret gained attention, winning the Rougevin Prize in 1901. Cret’s life, however, changed in 1903, when Paul Armon Davis III, himself a former student in the Atelier Pascal, put out a call to University of Pennsylvania alumni pursuing their architectural studies abroad to nominate a candidate for professor of architectural design at the university. The alumni chose Cret, who was at first hired as an assistant professor. Then twenty-seven years of age, Cret could little know the effect that his arrival in the United States would have on the architectural community, both in Philadelphia and in the nation. Soon he was acting as patron, not only for the atelier at the University of Pennsylvania, but also for one held in the evenings under the auspices of the T-Square Club of Philadelphia. Under his direction students from the Philadelphia Atelier excelled in national competitions; beginning in 1911 Cret’s students took the Paris Prize, administered by the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects, for four consecutive years. Theo B. White, one of Cret’s architectural design students, described Cret’s working method: “Cret’s criticism was made largely on rolls of tracing paper spread over the student’s problem, drawing with a soft pencil and with a minimum of talk (quite different from the modern critic)” (White, p. 29)....

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Dana, John Cotton (19 August 1856–21 July 1929), librarian and museum director, was born in Woodstock, Vermont, the son of Charles Dana and Charitie Scott Loomis. His father ran a general store and raised his sons with a New England emphasis on education and reading. Throughout his life, Dana maintained strong ties with his birthplace....

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Day, F. Holland (23 July 1864–06 November 1933), publisher, photographer, and bibliophile, was born Fred Holland Day in Norwood, Massachusetts, the son of Lewis Day, an industrialist, and Anna Smith. The only child of wealthy parents, young Day was educated largely by private tutors. The family split their time between their Norwood house and an apartment in Boston, at that time considered the Athens of America. At fifteen Day accompanied his mother to Denver, where she recuperated from a lung disease. It was in Denver that he made his first sustained contact with a large colony of Chinese, and their art and material culture made a lasting impact on him. He began to draw with Chinese inks and brushes and purchased many Chinese artifacts; he remained fascinated by Oriental culture to his dying day. This fascination was abetted by the world-class Oriental collections at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts....

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Dow, George Francis (07 January 1868–05 June 1936), antiquarian, editor, and museum curator, was born in Wakefield, New Hampshire, the son of George Prince and Ada Bingham Tappan. He grew up in Topsfield, Massachusetts, and lived there most of his life. After attending a commercial school in Boston, Dow entered the wholesale metal business, in which he was engaged from 1885 to 1898. During this time he became increasingly interested in local history and material culture. In 1893 Dow began to publish a local newspaper, the ...

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Fenollosa, Ernest Francisco (18 February 1853–21 September 1908), educator, poet, and Orientalist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Manuel Francisco Ciriaco Fenollosa, a Spanish musician who had come to the United States in 1838, and Mary Silsbee, who died when Ernest was eleven. After attending Salem High School, the sensitive and reserved young man entered Harvard College, where he studied with ...

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Ferguson, John Calvin (01 March 1866–03 August 1945), educator, art historian, and Chinese governmental adviser, was born in Lonsdale, Ontario, Canada, the son of John Ferguson, a Methodist minister, and Catherine Matilda Pomeroy, a schoolteacher. Because of his father’s itinerant occupation, he rarely lived in one location longer than two years. This did not dissuade him from pursuing a career in the clergy, however. He attended Albert College in Ontario before moving to Boston University, where he received the bachelor of arts degree in 1886. After some further study at the school of theology there, he was ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church....

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Filson, John (10 December 1753?–01 October 1788), author, historian, and land surveyor, was born in East Fallowfield Township near Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Davison Filson and Eleanor Clarke, farmers. After attending common schools in the vicinity of his birthplace, Filson studied Greek, Latin, mathematics, and surveying at West Nottingham Academy in Colora, Maryland. He inherited part of a modest estate following his father’s death in 1776, but, eschewing life on the farm, he taught school and surveyed lands in the area during the American Revolution....