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Dean, Bashford (28 October 1867–06 December 1928), zoologist and expert on ancient armor, was born in New York City, the son of William Dean, a lawyer, and Emma Frances Bashford. At the age of six Dean was fascinated by a helmet and other pieces of medieval armor at the house of a friend of his father. His interest in fishes began in childhood as well, during fishing trips with his father and then with an introduction to zoologist ...

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Gardiner, Leon (25 November 1892–05 March 1945), African-American bibliophile, researcher, and photographer, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the son of Jacob Gardiner and Martha (maiden name unknown). In 1902 he and his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From childhood he was interested in reading, cross-country running, hiking, camping, and bicycling. Later he developed an interest in music, choir singing, and photography. Blatant racial discrimination kept him from attending the photography school of his choice in Philadelphia, to his great disappointment. In the very early 1900s he began to collect material of various kinds concerning the achievements of blacks, black institutions, and lynchings of blacks....

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Francis P. Garvan Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92321).

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Garvan, Francis Patrick (13 June 1875–07 November 1937), attorney and collector, was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Patrick Garvan, paper merchant and tobacco farmer, and Mary Carroll. He attended public school in Hartford, then went on to Yale (A.B., 1897), to Catholic University for a year, and to New York University Law School (LL.B., 1899)....

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Harrah, William Fisk (02 September 1911–30 June 1978), casino owner and automobile collector, was born in South Pasadena, California, the son of John Garrett Harrah, a lawyer and businessman, and Amanda Fisk. Harrah attended Chapman College in 1931 and studied mechanical engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1932. He was an undistinguished student and was once caught cheating on a chemistry examination. When his family encountered financial problems during the Great Depression, Harrah dropped out of college. His family moved to Venice, California, where his father served a term as mayor. In 1932 Harrah’s father opened an establishment featuring the circle game, a variation of bingo in which some skill was required in shooting balls into a hopper. The circle game was akin to gambling, putting the operation at the edge of the law. William began as an employee but soon purchased the operation from his father for $500. Since gambling was illegal in Venice, the game was periodically closed when authorities chose to enforce the law strictly. In 1937 Hannah moved with his father to the more hospitable gambling environment of Reno, Nevada, and opened a bingo parlor....

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Hogg, Ima (10 July 1882–19 August 1975), civic leader, collector, and philanthropist, was born in Mineola, Texas, the daughter of James Stephen Hogg and Sarah Ann “Sallie” Stinson. Her father was governor of Texas in the 1890s and later a wealthy oilman. He named Ima after a character in a poem by his late brother Thomas....

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Hoyte, Lenon (04 July 1905–01 August 1999), doll collector and art teacher, was born Lenon Holder in New York City, the oldest child of Moses Holder, a carpenter, and Rose Holder, who sewed hats for infants for a Manhattan department store. The family owned a house on 128th Street in Harlem, and Hoyte attended public schools there. It was a comfortable childhood, but ironically the doll collector to be and her sister were forbidden to play with dolls when the younger girl, after chewing on the hands of their dolls, contracted lead poisoning. Hoyte studied both art and education at the City College of New York, earning a B.S. degree in 1937, and at Teacher's College of Columbia University. She had private art teachers as well, and she painted in media such as oil, casein, and watercolor. In 1930 Hoyte was hired to teach in New York City elementary and junior high schools, which she did for 40 years. She began teaching art and added puppetry and doll making....

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Lawson, Roberta Campbell (31 October 1878–31 December 1940), clubwoman and collector of Native-American music and artifacts, was born at Alluwe, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (now Okla.), the daughter of John Edward Campbell, a rancher and trader, and Emma Journeycake, a Delaware Indian whose parents had gone to live with the Cherokees after white settlers moved into Kansas. Her maternal grandfather was Charles Journeycake, last tribal chief of the Delawares, to whom she was especially devoted and from whom she acquired a lifelong appreciation of her Native-American heritage. Roberta and her younger brother (another brother died in infancy) spent their childhood in a remote rural setting but in a comfortable home where toys, books, musical instruments, and ponies abounded and where guests were always graciously entertained. After being instructed by her parents and a private tutor, Roberta attended a female seminary at Independence, Missouri. A lifelong interest and talent in music (Roberta reputedly assisted her mother as church organist in Alluwe at the age of ten) was complemented with specialized music studies while attending Hardin College, Mexico, Missouri....

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Lyon, Irving Whitall (19 October 1840–04 March 1896), antiquarian, author, and physician, was born in Bedford, New York, the son of Solomon Lyon and Hannah Rundell. He graduated from the Lawrenceville (Pa.) Preparatory School, the Vermont Medical College, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Lyon practiced medicine for a brief period with the Union army during the Civil War, followed by work at the Bellevue Hospital in New York City (1864–1866). In 1866 he turned to private practice and relocated to Hartford, Connecticut, where he worked for the remainder of his life. In addition to publishing numerous articles on medicine and surgery, Lyon was also medical examiner for the Hartford Life and Annuity Company. At the time of his death, he was serving an extended term as president of the Hartford County Medical Society. He married Mary Elizabeth Tucker of New York; the couple had three children....

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Mercer, Henry Chapman (24 June 1856–09 March 1930), archaeologist, collector, and tilemaker, was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the son of William Robert Mercer, a naval officer, and Mary Rebecca Chapman. His father retired from the navy to become a gentleman farmer and gardener. His mother’s sister, Elizabeth, came into a sizable fortune when her husband, Timothy Bigelow Lawrence of Boston, serving as a diplomat in Italy, died in 1869. Cultured and widely traveled, and with no children of her own, she returned to Doylestown and became a major influence in the lives of Mercer’s family, underwriting the costs of his education and travels. Mercer graduated from Harvard University in 1879 and studied at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Although admitted to the Philadelphia County Bar in 1881, he never practiced law. Mercer never married or had children....

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Nutting, Wallace (17 November 1861–19 July 1941), author, photographer, and antiquarian, was born in Marlborough, Massachusetts, the son of Albion Nutting, a farmer and manufacturer, and Elizabeth Sanborn Fifield. Following his father’s death while serving in the Union army, Nutting grew up at the farm of an uncle in Maine. He dropped out of school in Augusta, Maine, because of poor health, then he worked and traveled for four years until he enrolled in Phillips Exeter Academy, from which he graduated in 1883. He studied at Harvard from 1883 until 1886, Hartford Theological Seminary from 1886 until 1887, and Union Theological Seminary in 1888. In 1888 he was ordained a Congregational minister. The same year Nutting married Mrs. Mariet Griswold Caswell of Colrain, Massachusetts; they had no children....

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Riggs, William Henry (22 March 1837–31 August 1924), collector of European arms and armor, was born in New York City, the son of Elisha Riggs, a merchant and banker, and his second wife, Mary Ann Karrick. Educated in private schools in New York and Hartford, Riggs displayed an early interest in collecting Native American artifacts. After his father’s death in 1853, he moved to Europe to study engineering, a career intended to prepare him to take over the family’s mining interests. He attended the Institut Sillig in Vevey, Switzerland, the University of Heidelberg, and the Technische Hochschule in Dresden. At Vevey he was the classmate of ...

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Rindge, Frederick Hastings (21 December 1857–29 August 1905), philanthropist and collector, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Baker Rindge, a woolen importer and manufacturer, and Clarissa Harrington. He attended public schools in Cambridge and developed an interest in travel and foreign cultures at an early age. In 1870 he traveled to California, and between 1871 and 1872 he made his way through Europe. He entered Harvard College in 1875; there his interest in North American native peoples was stimulated through contact with ...

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Sprague, William Buell (16 October 1795–07 May 1876), pastor, collector, and biographer, was born in Andover, Connecticut, the son of Benjamin Sprague and Sibyl Buell. Nothing is known about what his parents did for a living. Sprague entered Yale College in 1811 and, despite a brief leave of absence due to eye problems, graduated with honors in 1815. Early in life Sprague expressed an interest in the ministry, but he delayed entering Princeton Theological Seminary until 1816 in order to tutor the children of Major Lawrence Lewis, a nephew of ...