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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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Isham, Ralph Heyward (02 July 1890–13 June 1955), literary collector, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Heyward Isham, a banker and financier, and Juliet Calhoun Marsh. Isham attended Cornell and Yale Universities, where his interest in eighteenth-century literature was first aroused. He then pursued a variety of activities, ranging from journalism to big-game shooting in Malaya and Mexico. He also began his collection of antiquarian books....

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Quinn, John (24 April 1870–28 July 1924), lawyer, collector of art and manuscripts, and patron of the arts, was born in Tiffin, Ohio, the son of James Quinn, a prosperous baker, and Mary Quinlan. Quinn’s success as a lawyer came early. He took a law degree from Georgetown University in 1893 and a second law degree from Harvard in 1895. Practicing in New York City, he established himself as one of the city’s leading financial lawyers in 1905 by dealing with the legal complications of J. B. Ryan’s takeover of Equitable Life Assurance Association of the United States, a firm that controlled $400 million in assets. Hard-driving and demanding, Quinn once fired five junior partners in one year. Yet in spite of his preoccupation with his work, he performed inestimable services for the arts....

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Rollins, Philip Ashton (20 January 1869–11 September 1950), author, bibliophile, and philanthropist, was born in Somersworth, New Hampshire, the son of Edward Ashton Rollins, a financier, and Ellen Chapman Hobbs, an author. His father, a Harvard-trained lawyer, was active in Republican politics and served as a high-level Treasury Department official in the ...

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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 ...