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Gardiner, Leon (25 November 1892–05 March 1945), African-American bibliophile, researcher, and photographer, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the son of Jacob Gardiner and Martha (maiden name unknown). In 1902 he and his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From childhood he was interested in reading, cross-country running, hiking, camping, and bicycling. Later he developed an interest in music, choir singing, and photography. Blatant racial discrimination kept him from attending the photography school of his choice in Philadelphia, to his great disappointment. In the very early 1900s he began to collect material of various kinds concerning the achievements of blacks, black institutions, and lynchings of blacks....

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Sprague, William Buell (16 October 1795–07 May 1876), pastor, collector, and biographer, was born in Andover, Connecticut, the son of Benjamin Sprague and Sibyl Buell. Nothing is known about what his parents did for a living. Sprague entered Yale College in 1811 and, despite a brief leave of absence due to eye problems, graduated with honors in 1815. Early in life Sprague expressed an interest in the ministry, but he delayed entering Princeton Theological Seminary until 1816 in order to tutor the children of Major Lawrence Lewis, a nephew of ...