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Bascom, William Russel (23 May 1912–11 September 1981), anthropologist and folklorist, was born in Princeton, Illinois, the son of George Rockwell Bascom, an engineer, and Litta Celia Banschbach. His father died when William was thirteen, and his mother then worked as a librarian at the Wisconsin State Historical Library in Madison to support her two children and her invalid mother. Bascom earned his B.A. in physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1933 and continued postgraduate work in this subject at the same institution the following year. Bascom’s summer employment in 1934 on an archaeological excavation reflected his shift of interest from physics to anthropology. He received an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin in 1936. His master’s thesis, “The Role of the Medicine Man in Kiowa Culture,” written under the guidance of ...

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Beckwith, Martha Warren (19 January 1871–28 January 1959), educator, folklorist, and ethnographer, was born in Wellesley Heights, Massachusetts, the daughter of George Ely Beckwith and Harriet Winslowe Goodale, schoolteachers. Beckwith was the grandniece of Lucy Goodale Thurston, one of the first company of Congregational missionaries to the island of Hawaii, and Beckwith’s father had spent sixteen years in Hawaii before she was born, working as a missionary and a teacher, and then as manager of a sugar plantation. In 1874 the Beckwiths moved back to Hawaii. There Beckwith was introduced to the “cousins” society, a group formed by the descendants of the early missionaries, most of whom had intermarried, producing an intricate web of family relations. Beckwith was adopted immediately into the cousins society, through which she developed an interest in their history and in the legends and culture of early Hawaii....

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Dobie, James Frank (26 September 1888–18 September 1964), writer, folklorist, and educator, was born on his family’s 7,000-acre ranch in Live Oak County, Texas, the son of Jonathan Richard “R. J.” Dobie and Ella Byler. He preferred his mother’s infectious love of standard eighteenth- and nineteenth-century books to his father’s habit of reading the Bible and singing Methodist hymns. He grew up rigidly moral, attended ranch schools, and lived with his grandparents in Alice, Texas, to go to high school there (1904–1906). After earning a B.A. in 1910 at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, he worked briefly for the ...

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Dorson, Richard Mercer (12 March 1916–11 September 1981), folklorist and historian, was born in New York City to Louis J. Dorson and Gertrude Lester Dorson. His father, the son of Eastern European immigrants, had left school after eighth grade to help support his family. With a talent for business, Louis Dorson eventually became the wealthy proprietor of a wholesale furniture company in the city. Richard, nicknamed Dick, and his two sisters grew up on Park Avenue and were privately educated. After graduating from Philips Exeter Academy, in New Hampshire, in 1933, he attended Harvard University, where he excelled not only in academics but also at tennis and squash. He also coached both sports during his college years, and in 1937, the year he graduated, he became the national intercollegiate squash racquets champion....

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Eastman, Mary Henderson (1818–24 February 1887), writer, was born in Warrenton, Virginia, the daughter of Thomas Henderson, a physician, and Anna Maria Truxton. Although scholars are uncertain exactly when the Henderson family moved from Virginia to Washington, D.C., it was probably in Washington that Eastman received her education, an excellent one for a girl growing up in the early nineteenth century....

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Faulkner, William John (16 November 1891–18 July 1987), folklorist and minister, was born in Society Hill, South Carolina, the son of Laurence Faulkner, a merchant and postmaster, and Hannah Josephine Doby, a midwife. The decade of his birth and earliest development was one of violent repression of blacks across the South, during which the Supreme Court, in ...

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Jacobs, Joseph (29 August 1854–30 January 1916), literary critic, folklorist, and Jewish historian, was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the son of John Jacobs and Sarah (maiden name unknown). He received a B.A. from St. John’s College, Cambridge, England, in 1876, and the following year he went to Berlin to study with the famous Jewish scholars Moritz Lazarus and Moritz Steinschneider. Upon returning to England, he studied anthropology with Sir Francis Galton. He married Georgina Horne (date unknown); they had three children....

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Jaramillo, Cleofas Martínez (06 December 1878–30 November 1956), folklorist, writer, and businesswoman, was born in the northern New Mexican village of Arroyo Hondo, the daughter of Julian Antonio Martínez, a landholder who raised sheep and cattle, farmed, and engaged in the mercantile trade, and Marina Lucero de Martínez. Both parents were descended from Spanish pioneers who settled the territory for New Spain in the late sixteenth century. One of seven children, Jaramillo spent her early years amidst the pleasures and hard work of a prosperous, upper-class, large country household. At age nine she entered the Loretto Convent School in Taos, New Mexico, and later attended the Loretto Academy in Santa Fe. There she was courted by her cousin, Colonel Venceslao Jaramillo, whom she married in Taos in 1898. After a wedding trip to California, they settled in El Rito....

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Jones, James Athearn (17 October 1791–07 July 1854), novelist, poet, and folklorist, was born in Tisbury, on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the son of Ebenezer Jones, a farmer, and Susanna Athearn, the daughter of a county probate judge in Tisbury. Several bands of Gay Head Indians lived within a few miles of the Joneses. Young Jones’s grandfather had a lonely coastal farm, where the boy was born and lived, where Indians were employed as field hands, and where an Indian nurse cared for him until he was fifteen. Her stories about fabulous Indians inspired his lifelong fascination with Native-American folklore. Denied formal schooling by the remoteness of his home, he read voraciously and studied under ministers at Tisbury and nearby Edgartown. He visited the West Indies on a few occasions and also sold or bartered food and other items with sailors anchored off Martha’s Vineyard. Jones has been described as tall, slender, a little vain and quarrelsome, and in later years slightly deaf....

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Oliver La Farge Photograph by Louis Fabian Bachrach, 1930. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-116958).

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La Farge, Oliver Hazard Perry (19 December 1901–02 August 1963), anthropologist, author, and advocate of American Indian reform and welfare, was born in New York City, the son of Christopher Grant La Farge, an architect, and Florence Bayard Lockwood. A descendant and namesake of ...

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Lord, Albert Bates (15 September 1912–29 July 1991), folklorist, Slavist, and comparatist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Whiting Lord, a manufacturer of candy, and Corinne Bates Lord. After his high school years at Boston Public Latin School, he entered Harvard University, earning an A.B. in classics (cum laude, 1934) and an M.A. (1936) and Ph.D. (1949) in comparative literature, with graduate specialties in medieval English, ancient Greek, and Serbo-Croatian. On 24 August 1950 he married Mary Louise Carlson, later the long-time chair of Classics at Connecticut College, with whom he had two children: Nathan Eliot Lord, a high school English teacher, and Mark Edwards Lord, a potter and woodworker....

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Joseph C. Jastrzembski

Paredes, Américo (03 September 1915–05 May 1999), folklorist, was born in Brownsville, Texas, the son of Justos Paredes, a rancher, and Clotilde Manzano de Paredes. Growing up bilingual, conversant in English and Spanish, Paredes attended grammar school, high school, and junior college in Brownsville. Intent on pursuing a literary career, he began writing poetry at an early age, publishing a number of pieces in ...

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Louise Pound. Courtesy of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

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Pound, Louise (30 June 1872–28 June 1958), folklorist, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the daughter of Stephen Bosworth Pound, an attorney, state senator, and district court judge, and Laura Biddlecombe, a former schoolteacher who studied German language and literature at the University of Nebraska and was also an avid botanist. Educated at home by her mother until 1886, Pound took undergraduate (1892) and master’s (1895) degrees at the University of Nebraska, where she coedited the literary magazine with ...

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Randolph, Vance (23 February 1892–01 November 1980), folklorist, was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, the son of John Randolph, an attorney and Republican politician, and Theresa Gould, a librarian. Randolph was attracted to the exotic life and radical politics of the mining camps near Pittsburg. He dropped out of high school but eventually graduated from the local college (now Pittsburg State University) in 1914 and completed an M.A. in psychology at Clark University in 1915, writing a thesis on dream analysis for ...

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Scarborough, Dorothy (27 January 1878–07 November 1935), novelist and folklorist, was born Emily Dorothy Scarborough near Flora, an extinct village near Mount Carmel, Texas, the daughter of John B. Scarborough and Mary Adelaide Ellison. Her father, a Confederate veteran, taught school while studying law. Becoming a successful lawyer and district judge, he moved the family west to Sweetwater before settling in Waco so that his children could receive good educations. He became a trustee of Baylor University, the leading Baptist school in the state....