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Barnes, Djuna (12 June 1892–19 June 1982), writer, was born Djuna Chappell Barnes in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, the daughter of Wald Barnes (born Henry Budington, recorded as Buddington), a musician, and Elizabeth Chappell. She was raised mostly in her birthplace, Fordham, and Huntington, Long Island, New York. The Barnes family, which believed in sexual freedom, included four brothers by Djuna’s mother, plus Wald’s mistress Fanny Faulkner and their three children; they were supported largely by Wald’s mother, Zadel Barnes Budington Gustafson, a journalist and suffragist. Djuna’s parents and grandmother Zadel tutored the children, especially in the arts. With the blessing of her father and grandmother (over the objections of her mother), at seventeen Djuna eloped with a soap salesman, Percy Faulkner, brother of Fanny Faulkner, but stayed with him only a few weeks. Djuna attended school sporadically, if at all; later she attended Pratt Institute (1913) and the Art Students League of New York (1915), studying life drawing and illustration....

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Bennett, Gwendolyn (08 July 1902–30 May 1981), writer and artist, was born in Giddings, Texas, the daughter of Joshua Robin Bennett and Mayme F. Abernathy, teachers on a Native American reservation. In 1906 the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Bennett’s father studied law and her mother worked as a manicurist and hairdresser. Her parents divorced and her mother won custody, but her father kidnapped the seven-year-old Gwendolyn. The two, with her stepmother, lived in hiding in various towns along the East Coast and in Pennsylvania before finally settling in New York....

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Browne, Carl (1846–16 January 1914), political agitator, reform journalist, and organizer of "Coxey's Army", political agitator, reform journalist, and organizer of “Coxey’s Army,” was born in Springfield, Illinois. (The date and place of his birth are sometimes less reliably given as 4 July 1849 in Newton, Iowa). Browne was working as a sign painter in western Iowa in 1869 when he suddenly decided to move to California. At that time he desired more than anything else to paint a gargantuan panorama of the Yosemite Valley. He later exhibited this painting up and down the Pacific Coast, such panoramas being a popular form of folk art in the nineteenth century. One unfriendly critic observed, “As an artist Carl Browne belongs to a distinct school. In fact, he constitutes the entire school.” Browne’s response to critics was to affirm that as a young man he had apprenticed with a carriage and house painter (an experience that probably accounted for his love of huge panoramic images and garish colors such as might adorn a circus wagon)....

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Burgess, Gelett (30 January 1866–18 September 1951), author, editor, and illustrator, was born Frank Gelett Burgess in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Harvey Burgess, a well-to-do painting contractor, and Caroline Matilda Brooks, a genteel Unitarian. After graduating from the English High School in Boston, Burgess attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his B.S. in 1887. To avoid perceived restrictions of life in New England, he became a draftsman on survey work with the Southern Pacific Railroad (1888–1891), hiked and sketched his way through France and Spain, and instructed topographical drawing at the University of California at Berkeley (1891–1894). He was dismissed from his academic post for pulling down a cast-iron statue of Henry Cogswell, a prominent local dentist revered as a philanthropic teetotaler. Burgess designed furniture for a San Francisco firm at minimal pay, lived on Russian Hill, and puzzled his neighbors by appearing at odd hours with his 5′ 4″ frame draped in vivid capes....

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Chaplin, Ralph Hosea (30 August 1887–23 May 1961), radical labor editor and artist, was born in Cloud County, Kansas, the son of Edgar Chaplin and Clara Bradford, farmers. Hard times forced his family to leave Kansas when Chaplin was an infant, and he was raised in Chicago, where his family moved frequently and struggled against poverty....

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Goldwater, John L. (14 February 1916–26 February 1999), publisher and writer, was born John Leonard Goldwater in New York City, the son of Daniel Goldwater and Edna Bogart Goldwater, who died during childbirth; the father, reportedly overcome by grief, abandoned the child and died soon afterward. Growing up in a foster home, Goldwater attended the High School of Commerce where he developed secretarial skills and some facility as a writer. At seventeen, he hitchhiked across the country, stopping at Hiawatha, Kansas, where he took a reporting job on the local newspaper. He subsequently moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he found a position as secretary to the administrator of Grand Canyon National Park, then to Arizona, and eventually on to San Francisco and jobs with the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, and, in rather rapid succession, other employers. After a year or so, he returned to New York. In later years, recounting his youthful employment experiences, Goldwater usually explained that he moved often from job to job because his attentions to young women in each location resulted in his being fired. Back in New York, he worked for various publishers and then became an entrepreneur, buying unsold periodicals, mainly pulp magazines, from publisher Louis H. Silberkleit and exporting them for sale abroad. Observing the success of the Superman character in the infant comic book industry in 1939, he joined Silberkleit and Maurice Coyne in launching a comic book publishing firm with himself as editor (while continuing as president of Periodicals for Export, Inc.), Silberkleit as publisher, and Coyne as bookkeeper....

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Leslie, Frank (29 March 1821–10 January 1880), engraver and publisher, was born Henry Carter in Ipswich, England, the son of Joseph Leslie Carter and Mary Elliston. Spurning his father’s efforts to bring him into the family’s prosperous glove-manufacturing business, young Carter took up wood engraving in London and assumed the name Frank Leslie for the signing of his woodcuts. In 1842 he joined the engraving department of the ...

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Liberman, Alexander (04 September 1912–19 November 1999), sculptor and painter, was born Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman in Kiev, Russia, the son of Semeon Liberman, a well-regarded timber industry analyst for both the czarist and Bolshevik governments, and Henriette Pascar, a half-gypsy who directed the first state-run children's theater in Moscow. During the early years of the Russian Revolution, chaotic conditions in St. Petersburg and Moscow, where Liberman spent his early childhood, were reflected in an unruly temperament, which forced his parents to school him at home. In 1921 Semeon Liberman received permission from Lenin to take his son abroad, where Alexander was sent to boarding schools in England and France. His mother accompanied him to England, while his father continued to work in Moscow before finally and permanently leaving for France, where the family was reunited in 1926....

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Millet, Francis Davis (03 November 1846–15 April 1912), artist and writer, was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, the son of Asa Millet, a physician, and Huldah A. Byram. He served as a drummer boy in the Union army in 1864. During this time he also acted as an assistant surgeon in the Army of the Potomac, helping on one occasion to amputate a wounded soldier’s arm. Millet graduated from Harvard in 1869 and was granted a master’s degree in modern languages and literature three years later. Meanwhile, he worked on the ...

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Moore, Donald Wynkoop (1905?–07 April 1986), magazine editor and writer, best known for his work on comic strips and teleplays. His birthplace and his parents’ names and occupations are unknown. He graduated second in his class with a bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College in 1925. For several years after graduation he worked as a journalist, first in his parents’ hometown of Miami, Florida, at the ...

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Ripley, Robert LeRoy (26 December 1893–27 May 1949), cartoonist and creator of the newspaper feature "Believe-It-or-Not", cartoonist and creator of the newspaper feature “Believe-It-or-Not,” was born LeRoy Ripley in Santa Rosa, California, the son of Isaac Davis Ripley, a carpenter, and Lily Belle Yucca (or Yocka). Throughout his life he claimed 25 December as his birthday because, he said, he preferred it that way....

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Stillman, William James (01 June 1828–06 July 1901), journalist, artist, and diplomat, was born in Schenectady, New York, the son of Joseph Stillman, a machinist, and Eliza Ward Maxson. Enduring a strict, impoverished childhood, he retained an intense love of nature and an abiding religious faith. Potentially a brilliant student, and with some financial help from some of his older brothers, he graduated from Union College in Schenectady in 1848 after three years, regretting that he had not studied art....