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Coolidge, Dane (24 March 1873–08 August 1940), novelist, naturalist, and photographer, was born in Natick, Massachusetts, the son of Francis Coolidge, a corporal in the Civil War and, later, an orange grower in California, and Sophia Upham Whittemore. He moved with his family in 1877 to Los Angeles, where he roamed the fields and mountains around that still-small town and grew up a Republican and a Unitarian. Coolidge graduated from Stanford University in 1898, then studied biology at Harvard University from 1898 to 1899 before returning to the West....

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Williams, William ( June 1727–27 April 1791), novelist and painter, was baptized on 14 June 1727 in Bristol, England, the son of William Williams, probably a mariner, and Elizabeth (Belshire?). As a boy Williams attended the Bristol Grammar School, but his preferred classroom seems to have been a local artist’s studio, where he began to develop his interest in painting as a profession. Williams’s parents had more practical plans for their son, however, and when Williams was perhaps sixteen or seventeen years old, he was bound as an apprentice to a captain in the Virginia trade. This arrangement proved to be short lived. Dissatisfied with his appointed career, Williams abandoned his position at the earliest convenience and fled to the West Indies. Many years later the renowned artist ...

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Wright, Willard Huntington (15 October 1888–11 April 1939), editor, novelist, and critic, was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of Archibald Davenport Wright, a hotel proprietor, and Annie Van Vranken. In 1900 the Wrights moved to Santa Monica, California, a crucial move, for a good part of Wright’s early professional development occurred in southern California. Both Wright and his brother Stanton were regarded as precocious by their parents, and both gravitated toward the arts. Stanton Wright early settled on a painting career, but Willard Wright vacillated, experimenting with painting and music before concentrating on literature....