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Ahern, Mary Eileen (01 October 1860–22 May 1938), librarian and editor, was born on a farm southwest of Indianapolis, Indiana, to William Ahern, a farmer, and Mary O’Neill, both Irish immigrants. In 1870 the family left the farm for Spencer, Indiana, where Mary Eileen graduated from high school in 1878. Following her graduation from Central Normal College in Danville, Indiana, in 1881, she worked as a teacher in the public schools of Bloomfield, Spencer, and Peru, Indiana, for eight years....

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Allibone, Samuel Austin (17 April 1816–02 September 1889), lexicographer and librarian, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The family record is sketchy; genealogical records indicate that Allibone’s parents were probably William Allibone and Mary Smith, a descendant of Pennsylvania’s first English settlers. Little is known about Allibone’s early years or of his education except that he was a bibliophile from an early age. He married Mary Henry, the daughter of a prominent Philadelphia merchant and philanthropist, who helped him in his library work; the couple had one child. Allibone worked in the mercantile business and then for the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia. His first printed work, ...

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Anderson, Edwin Hatfield (27 September 1861–29 April 1947), librarian, was born in Zionsville, Indiana, the son of Philander Anderson, a physician, and Emma A. Duzan. In his youth the family, a large one reared by the strict Presbyterian standards of his father, moved to south Kansas, where his father took up banking. From 1879 to 1883 Anderson attended Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, graduating with an A.B. degree. After trying various occupations—reading law, writing for newspapers, and teaching school in Chicago—he embarked on the new profession of librarianship. From October 1890 to May 1891 he was a student at the New York State Library School at Albany and in June 1891 began work as a cataloger at the new Newberry Library in Chicago. The following December he married Frances R. Plummer; they adopted two French girls after World War I....

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Andrews, Regina (21 May 1901–05 February 1993), librarian and dramatist, was born Regina M. Anderson in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, Illinois, to Margaret Simons Anderson, a clubwoman and ceramics artist, and William Grant Anderson, an attorney. Regina grew up in an upper-middle-class family because of her father’s success as a defense attorney, which earned him the nickname “Habeas Corpus.” Her views about race were no doubt shaped by her father’s fighting for racial justice for his clients and his collaboration with the antilynching advocate ...

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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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Bancroft, Frederic A. (30 October 1860–22 February 1945), historian, librarian, and philanthropist, was born Frederic Austin Bancroft in Galesburg, Illinois, the son of Addison Newton Bancroft, a businessman, and Catherine Blair. Bancroft, raised in abolitionist surroundings, attended school at Knox Academy, Knox College (1878–1881), transferred to Amherst College in 1881, and graduated a year later. He entered Columbia University’s School of Political Science in 1882 to study southern history with ...

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Beach, Harlan Page (04 April 1854–04 March 1933), missionary, missions librarian, and professor of missions, was born in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Joseph Wickliff Beach and Mary Angeline Walkley, farmers. He prepared for college at Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from Yale University in 1878. He taught at Phillips Andover Academy for two years, then entered Andover Theological Seminary, graduating (B.D.) in 1883. His father opposed his decision to be a missionary, but his mother encouraged him. He married Lucy Lucretia Ward on 29 June 1883 and was ordained to the Congregational ministry on 19 July 1883; later in the same year they were sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve in North China. After language study he was on the staff of a high school and theological seminary at Tung-chau until December 1889, when his wife’s ill health caused their return to the United States....

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Beer, William (01 May 1849–01 February 1927), librarian, was born in Plymouth, England, the son of Gabriel Beer and Harriet Ferguson. Little is known about his family or his youth except that he attended the Plymouth Grammar School and went to Paris in 1872 to study medicine and art. He returned to England in 1877 to study mining engineering at the College of Physical Science at Newcastle-on-Tyne (later King’s College, Durham University), and two years later he joined a new company manufacturing stained glass. His interest in libraries and antiquarian subjects surfaced early. At the age of twenty he was a director of the Cottonian Library in Plymouth. He took part in local explorations of the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries and collected imprints there, which he donated to the Newcastle-on-Tyne Public Library in 1884 when he emigrated to the United States....

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Bellini, Carlo (1735– June 1804), librarian and teacher, was born in Florence, Italy, the son of Leone (or Leon) Girolamo Bellini, a tradesman. His mother’s name is not known, and details of his early life are sketchy. He taught in the Santa Maria School in Florence, frequented the best Florentine intellectual circles, and was a close friend of ...

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Otto Bettmann Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Bettmann, Otto (15 October 1903–01 May 1998), historian and photo archivist, was born in Leipzig, Germany, to Hans Bettmann, an orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Charlotte Frank. The family was Jewish, and Otto grew up in a highly cultured environment, where he was especially drawn to his father's extensive collection of medical literature. As a child he enjoyed working in the darkroom of the elder Bettmann's clinic, where Hans Bettmann pioneered in the use of X-rays for diagnosis. Young Otto made copies of pictorial images he found in his father's books and collected from free publications offered by German medical firms, and in 1916, for his father's birthday, he presented a pictorial history of medicine that he had created from these images....

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John Shaw Billings. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library and Museum, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Billings, John Shaw (12 April 1838–11 March 1913), army medical officer, library organizer, and public health activist, was born near Allensville, Indiana, the son of James Billings, a farmer and storekeeper, and Abby Shaw. Despite spotty secondary schooling, he ultimately went to Miami College (Ohio), where he earned his B.A. in 1857. He was awarded the M.D. by the Medical College of Ohio in 1860. Billings remained with the latter institution for a year as an anatomical demonstrator, but after the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the U.S. Army as a contract surgeon. In 1862 he was commissioned first lieutenant and assistant surgeon and went on to make army service his career. Also in 1862 he married Katharine Mary Stevens; they had five children....

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Bjerregaard, Carl Henrik Andreas (24 May 1845–28 January 1922), librarian and philosopher, was born in Fredericia, Denmark, the son of Janus Bagge Friis, an educator, and Louise Nielsen. Bjerregaard attended the local Latin school, Fredericia College, in which his father was principal, but he did not graduate. He went on to study at, and apparently graduated from, the University of Copenhagen in 1863. After leaving Copenhagen, he volunteered as a Danish spy in the Danish–Schleswig-Holstein war. From 1865 to 1866 he went to St. Petersburg and other parts of Europe as a teacher in the household of a Danish minister to Russia. In 1866 he entered the Danish military as a candidate for reserve service and completed training at the Military Academy of Denmark. He served in the reserve army for seven years, achieving the rank of second lieutenant. In 1868 he married Mathilde Georgina Thomsen. They had seven children. From 1869 to 1870 he was professor of botany and curator of the natural history museum at Fredericia College. In the summer of 1873 Bjerregaard left the military and Denmark without permission. His hasty departure occurred the night before a police investigation into an allegation that he had violated the criminal code. Bjerregaard later offered two distinct defenses of his unauthorized exit. First, he claimed that he feared an unwanted military appointment to garrison duty in the Danish West Indies. Second, he proposed that his criminal offense consisted of having been witnessed with socialists while in uniform....

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Bogle, Sarah Comly Norris (17 November 1870–11 January 1932), librarian, educator, and administrator, was born in White Deer Mills, Union County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Armstrong Bogle, a chemical engineer, and Emma Ridgway Norris. Bogle’s early years were typical of those expected of a young woman of her comfortable status. She and her brother John grew up in Milton, Pennsylvania. Bogle was privately tutored until age fourteen when she attended Miss Steven’s School in Germantown. Bogle attended the University College of the University of Chicago but did not finish her undergraduate degree. In 1904 she earned a certificate from the library school at Drexel Institute. According to Harrison Craver, “the pleasure of society was no longer sufficient,” and she decided to find “more satisfying employment” (Craver, p. 489). Bogle received an M.A. (field unknown) from Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania in 1917....

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Bolton, Henry Carrington (28 January 1843–19 November 1903), chemist and historian, was born in New York City, the only child of Jackson Bolton, a physician, and Anna Hinman North. Bolton graduated from Columbia College in 1862 after showing aptitude in mathematics and chemistry. Over the next four years he studied chemistry with some of the best minds in Europe: Jean-Baptiste-André Dumas at the Sorbonne and Charles-Adolphe Wurtz of the École de Médicine in Paris; Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, Hermann Franz Moritz Kopp, and Gustav Robert Kirchhoff at the University of Heidelberg; Friedrich Wöhler at Göttingen; and August Wilhelm von Hofmann of the University of Berlin. In 1866, the year his father died, he was awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Göttingen for his work “On the Fluorine Compounds of Uranium.” Throughout his stay in Europe, Bolton traveled the whole of the Continent, particularly in Switzerland, where he became an expert alpine climber....

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Bostwick, Arthur Elmore (08 March 1860–13 February 1942), editor and librarian, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of David Elmore Bostwick, a physician, and Adelaide McKinley. Bostwick took advantage of the cultural assets in his hometown, reading periodicals from a neighbor’s private library, studying romance and classical languages, participating in music ensembles, and attending the Episcopal church where his mother was organist. His innate intellectual abilities were thus stimulated, laying the foundation for an active life of the mind. He attended Yale College, won the first Silliman Fellowship in physical science, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and earned a B.A. in 1881 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1883. Aspiring to a college professorship, he declined an appointment as a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in favor of a temporary position at Yale but, when a permanent post was not forthcoming, he moved to Montclair, New Jersey, where he taught high school from 1884 to 1886. In 1885 Bostwick married Lucy Sawyer, with whom he had three children....

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Brett, William Howard (01 July 1846–24 August 1918), librarian, was born in Braceville, Ohio, the son of Morgan Lewis Brett, an engineer, and Jane Brokaw. At the time of his birth Brett’s parents were members of the Trumbull Phalanx, a Fourierist utopian experiment in eastern Ohio. Shortly after his birth Brett’s family moved to a modest home in Warren, Ohio, near the Mahoning River. Brett took an early interest in books, learning to read before he started attending the Warren public schools. An early influence on his life was William Porter, owner of W. N. Porter and Sons, a small bookshop near Brett’s home. It was here that Brett spent many hours becoming acquainted with the world of books and where he got his first job as soon as he was old enough to be of service. At the age of fourteen Brett was appointed librarian at Warren High School’s small library, a position he held until he left school to earn a living in 1862....

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Brown, John Carter (28 August 1797–10 June 1874), book collector and philanthropist, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Nicholas Brown, a merchant and philanthropist, and Ann Carter, daughter of John Carter, the second printer of Providence. In 1816 he received an A.B. from Brown University, named for his father, and immediately joined the family mercantile firm, Brown & Ives. Although he was involved in several aspects of the shipping business and became a partner in 1832, he found time to travel extensively in Europe and the United States and to pursue his interests in historical subjects and books. Accustomed from childhood to a growing family library, he and his elder brother, Nicholas, “were predisposed to infection with the epidemic Bibliomania” and belonged to “a small group of American gentlemen of means who found in the London and Continental bookshops a reason for a European holiday” (Winship, pp. 9, 12). He resided in Europe from 1823 to 1826 and bought many books, most of which he shipped back to Brown University as gifts. The university made him a trustee in 1828 and a fellow in 1842. He continued to make donations to the university and to be involved in its affairs throughout his life....

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Burr, George Lincoln (30 January 1857–27 June 1938), librarian, historian, and educator, was born in Oramel, New York, the son of William Josiah Burr, a physician, and Jane Lincoln. Educated in the public schools of Newark Valley and the Cortland Academy, Burr worked as a printer to pay for his schooling. In 1877 he entered Cornell University, where he received his A.B. four years later. Upon graduation, thanks to the friendship shown by Cornell president ...