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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....