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Bolling, George Melville (13 April 1871–02 June 1963), classical philologist and linguist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of William Nicholls Bolling and Hannah Lamb Bonham. Bolling’s teacher, master Hellenist Basil L. Gildersleeve, described him as “a gentleman by birth and breeding.” The Bollings and Lambs traced their ancestors back to seventeenth-century Virginia....

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Davis, Charles Henry Stanley (02 March 1840–07 November 1917), physician, philologist, and Orientalist, was born in Goshen, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Fisher Davis, a physician, and Moriva Hatch. Davis received his early education in the public school system of Meriden, Connecticut, and later through a private tutor, Dr. William Baker. In 1864 he entered the University of Maryland, where he began studies in medicine. He received an M.D. in 1866 from the University of the City of New York. He then undertook postgraduate work in Boston, Massachusetts, and during this period began the publication (1866) of the ...

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Du Ponceau, Pierre Étienne (03 June 1760–01 April 1844), scholar and lawyer, was born in St. Martin, Isle of Ré, France, the son of a French army officer. He was trained first for the military, which he had to abandon because of poor eyesight, and then for the Roman Catholic priesthood by Benedictine monks at St. Jean Angely and at the Episcopal College in Poitou. After 1775 Du Ponceau served as a secretary and assistant to minor government officials in Paris and to the philologist Count de Gebelin. He came to the United States in 1777 as secretary and nominal military aide to Prussian army officer Baron ...

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Friedlaender, Israel (08 September 1876–05 July 1920), professor and Semitics scholar, was born in Włodawa, Poland, the son of Pinḥas Friedlaender, a cattle dealer, and Gittel Ehrlich. He was raised in Praga, a suburb of Warsaw, in comfortable circumstances in a traditional yet enlightened Jewish household. In early childhood Friedlaender acquired an almost verbatim knowledge of the Hebrew Bible as well as of the corpus of rabbinic literature. Studying with a private tutor, he also mastered the German language and its literary classics....

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Hahn, E. Adelaide (01 April 1893–08 July 1967), classicist, philologist, and linguist, was born in New York City, the daughter of Otto Hahn, occupation unknown, and Eleonore Funk Hahn, a teacher. Hahn never used her first name and left no written record of what the first initial stood for. She was home-schooled by her mother until she was thirteen years old, when she was sent to the elementary school run by Hunter College so that she could become accustomed to the ways of a classroom. This began her lifelong affiliation with Hunter, following in the footsteps of her mother, a Hunter graduate and editor of the college's ...

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Krapp, George Philip (01 September 1872–21 April 1934), philologist and man of letters, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second son of Martin Krapp and Louisa Addams. His father, a veteran of the Union armies, had been captured at Gettysburg and was mustered out by President ...

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Kurath, Hans (13 December 1891–02 January 1992), dialectologist and lexicographer, was born in Villach, Austria-Hungary, the son of Johann Kurath, a craftsman, and Anna Raimund. The Kuraths immigrated to the United States in 1907, settling in the large German community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Hans attended the German American Teacher's Seminary. A distinguished graduate of that school, the linguist Edward Prokosch, had become a professor of German at the University of Wisconsin, and the young Kurath began attending his classes in Madison. When Prokosch moved to the University of Texas in 1913, Kurath transferred to that school to maintain the contact and received his AB in German there the next year. He began his career as an instructor in German at Wisconsin, but the entry of the United States into World War I led the university to close the department; Kurath decided to continue his studies. He enrolled in the graduate school of the University of Chicago in 1918, and in 1919 he married Linda Eidel; the couple had one child....

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William Dwight Whitney. Albumen silver print, c. 1868, by Garrett Brothers. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Emma Willard School.

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Whitney, William Dwight (09 February 1827–07 June 1894), linguist, Sanskrit scholar, and lexicographer, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Josiah Dwight Whitney, a businessman and banker, and Sarah Williston. At age fifteen he joined the sophomore class of Williams College, graduating three years later in 1845 as the class valedictorian after having spent “no small part of his time … roaming over the hills and through the valleys, collecting birds for the Natural History Society,” according to his autobiography (repr. in Silverstein, p. 1). This early interest in natural science was sustained throughout Whitney’s life and played an important role in his approach to the study of language....

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Wiener, Leo (28 July 1862–12 December 1939), philologist, translator, and educator, was born in Bialystok, Russia (now part of Poland), the son of Salomon Wiener, a scholar and teacher, and Frederika Rabinowitch, who was descended from a distinguished rabbinic family. Wiener grew up in a multilingual environment congenial to his stunning linguistic abilities. Although Wiener had a French governess, his father insisted that German be spoken at home. Hebrew was cultivated as the traditional language of prayer, study, and Jewish intellectual discourse, while Yiddish, Russian, and Polish were the vernaculars most commonly used in Bialystok....