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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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Belle da Costa Greene. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-91222).

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Greene, Belle da Costa (26 November 1879–10 May 1950), library director, bibliographer, and art connoisseur, was born Belle Marion Greener, the daughter of Richard Greener, a lawyer and Republican party activist, and Genevieve Ida Fleet Greener. Her place of birth was probably Washington, D.C., where her father held a variety of jobs. But specifics concerning Greene's childhood and education are scarce because she preferred to keep them a mystery. Apparently, she attended Teachers College in New York City, where the family had relocated after Richard Greener was rewarded with a patronage job for his efforts on behalf of the Republican party. Around 1897, Belle Marion Greener's parents separated, the children staying with their mother, who within a few years changed the surname to Greene and some years thereafter altered her maiden name from Fleet to Van Vliet. During this time the Greenes fully “passed” in the white world, and Belle da Costa Greene (who claimed for herself nonexistent Portuguese forebears) never acknowledged her African lineage....

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Hamlin, Talbot Faulkner (16 June 1889–07 October 1956), architect, professor, and librarian, was born in New York City, the son of Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin, a professor of architecture at Columbia University, and Minnie Florence Marston. He began his writing career at the age of twelve with a translation from the Latin of Pliny’s letter describing his Laurentine villa. He received a B.A. in classics and English at Amherst College (1910), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. From there he proceeded to Columbia School of Architecture, where he received a B.Arch. in 1914. That same year he began to work as a draughtsman in the New York architectural firm of Murphy and Dana. In 1916 he married Hilda B. Edwards; they had three sons. That year he published his first book, ...

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Miner, Dorothy Eugenia (04 November 1904–15 May 1973), curator of manuscripts, librarian, and art historian, was born in New York City, the daughter of Roy Waldo Miner, a marine biologist, and Anna Elizabeth Carroll. In 1905 Miner’s father became a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York....

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Schomburg, Arthur Alfonso (24 January 1874–10 June 1938), historian, bibliophile, and curator, was born Arturo Alfonso Schomburg in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Mary Joseph, an unwed midwife or laundress who had been born free in 1837 on St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Some sources claim that his father was Carlos Federico Schomburg, a German-born émigré merchant, but in a reply to a questionnaire from ...

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Winser, Beatrice (11 March 1869–14 September 1947), librarian and museum director, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Henry Jacob Winser, a journalist, and Edith Cox. Two months after his daughter’s birth, Henry Winser left the New York Times for a twelve-year term as U.S. consul general at the court of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg; the family later returned to New York City....