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Arrington, Alfred W. (17 September 1810–31 December 1867), minister, author, and judge, was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, the son of H. Archibald Arrington, a Methodist minister. (His mother’s maiden name was Moore; her first name is not known.) Arrington passed his childhood amid the picturesque scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His early education consisted solely of reading from the Bible, until a family with a small library moved into the area and he was able to read more widely....

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Maxwell Bodenheim. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112040).

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Bodenheim, Maxwell (26 May 1892–07 February 1954), poet, critic, and novelist, was born in Hermanville, Mississippi, the son of Solomon Bodenheimer and Caroline Herman. An emigrant from Alsace, Solomon Bodenheimer never found financial or professional security; his career included stints as a traveling whiskey salesman and unsuccessful forays into clothing stores and men’s haberdashery. The daughter of a distinguished and wealthy surgeon, Caroline Bodenheimer came from a milieu that was vastly different from that of her husband. Indeed, the town of Hermanville itself obtained its name from Caroline Bodenheimer’s uncle, M. B. Herman, who had founded the town and established a small mercantile empire there. Caroline’s tales of lost prosperity provided a bitter contrast to the impoverished world in which Maxwell Bodenheim was reared....

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Butler, William Allen (20 February 1825–09 September 1902), lawyer and writer, was born William Howard Allen Butler in Albany, New York, the son of Benjamin Franklin Butler, an attorney, and Harriet Allen Butler, sister of Lieutenant William Howard Allen, a naval hero in the War of 1812. His family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1834 when his father was appointed attorney general by President ...

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Cane, Melville Henry (15 April 1879–10 March 1980), lawyer and poet, was born in Plattsburgh, New York, the son of Henry William Cane, a merchant, and Sophia Goodman. Cane’s family moved to New York City when he was six years of age. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Columbia University in 1900 and a bachelor of laws from the same institution in 1903. Cane demonstrated an early interest in writing. As an undergraduate at Columbia, he served as editor in chief of the ...

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Church, Benjamin (24 August 1734– January 1778?), physician, poet, and traitor, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of Benjamin Church, a vendue master, and Hannah Dyer. By 1740 the family had moved to Boston, and in 1750 young Benjamin entered Harvard College. It was at Harvard that Church first developed his writing skills, sharpening his talents through biting satires on his classmates and the professors. After graduating in 1754, Church studied medicine and for several months in 1757 served as surgeon aboard the Massachusetts snow-of-war, the ...

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Cook, Ebenezer (1667–1733?), poet and lawyer, was the son of Andrew Cook, a planter and merchant, and Anne Bowyer. His father owned Cook’s Point, at the mouth of the Choptank River, Dorchester County, Maryland. Ebenezer evidently divided his time between Maryland and England. He was living in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, in 1694. On 26 September 1700 Edward Ebbitts of Dorchester County delegated his power of attorney to “Ebenezer Cook of the Province of Maryland now Residing in London.”...

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Crafts, William (24 January 1787–23 September 1826), author and lawyer, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of William Crafts, an affluent merchant, and Margaret Tébout. The handsome and precocious Crafts studied under Charleston tutors and then went to Harvard College, entering in 1802 as a sophomore. Young Crafts’s geniality and his ease in learning foreign languages brought him popularity and a reputation for both wit and scholarship. After graduation in 1805, he studied law in Charleston at the office of Ford and DeSaussure; but after three years and apparently with only superficial knowledge he returned to Cambridge to pursue a master’s degree....

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Dale, Thomas (1700–16 September 1750), physician, jurist, and poet, was born in Hoxton, England, to a gentry family with medical interests. His parents’ names are unknown. He attended Brasenose College, Oxford University, from 1717 to 1720 and in 1721 began study at the University of Leyden, from which he received a medical degree on 23 September 1723 for ...

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Arthur Davison Ficke Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1940. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 375 P&P).

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Dalton Gross and MaryJean Gross

Ficke, Arthur Davison (10 November 1883–30 November 1945), lawyer and poet, was born in Davenport, Iowa, the son of Charles August Ficke, a lawyer, and Frances Davison. As a child he traveled extensively with his parents and came to share his father’s interest in art, although his primary interest lay in poetry. He took an A.B. degree from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Iowa and in 1908 settled into legal practice with his father. In 1907 he married Evelyn Bethune Blunt, with whom he had one son....

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Flagg, Edmund (24 November 1815–01 November 1890), author and civil servant, was born in Wiscasset, Maine, the son of Edmund Flagg and Harriet Payson. He graduated with distinction from Bowdoin College in 1835. Later that year he moved with his widowed mother and sister to Louisville, Kentucky, where he briefly taught the classics in a boys’ school. The following summer, he explored the Illinois and Missouri prairies and published in the ...

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Hope, James Barron (23 March 1829–15 September 1887), poet, was born at his grandfather’s house at the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Wilton Hope, a landed proprietor, and Jane A. Barron. His mother was the daughter of Commodore James Barron...

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Hopkinson, Francis (02 October 1737–09 May 1791), author, composer, and judge, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Thomas Hopkinson, a lawyer and Pennsylvania councillor, and Mary Johnson. Hopkinson’s father emigrated from England in 1731. Hopkinson matriculated in the first class of the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) in 1751; he graduated in 1757 and, with other members of his class, received an M.A. degree three years later....

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Malone, Walter (10 February 1866–18 May 1915), judge and poet, was born in De Soto County, Mississippi, the youngest of the twelve children of Franklin Jefferson Malone, a surgeon, and Mary Louisa Hardin. His father was an army surgeon during the Mexican War and later was a member of the Mississippi Constitutional Convention in 1868. As a boy Malone showed an interest in writing, publishing several articles in the Louisville ...

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Edgar Lee Masters Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1924. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G401-T-4499-004).

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Masters, Edgar Lee (23 August 1869–05 March 1950), poet and lawyer, was born in Garnett, Kansas, the son of Hardin Wallace Masters, a lawyer, and Emma J. Dexter. Though his father had moved the family briefly to Kansas to set up a law practice, Masters grew up in the western Illinois farmlands where his grandparents had settled in the 1820s. He was educated in the public schools in Petersburg and Lewistown (where he worked as a newspaper printer after school) and spent a year in an academy school hoping to gain admission to Knox College. Instead of entering college, he read law with his father and, after a brief stint as a bill collector in Chicago, formed a law partnership in 1893 with Kickham Scanlan....

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Munford, William (15 August 1775–21 June 1825), court reporter, poet, and politician, was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, the son of Robert Munford, a planter, playwright, and poet, and Anne Beverley. William began his education at the grammar school at William and Mary, then attended the college. His talents and intelligence impressed his teachers, including ...

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Paine, Robert Treat, Jr. (09 December 1773–13 November 1811), poet and lawyer, was born Thomas Paine in Taunton, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Treat Paine, Sr., a legislator, jurist, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Sally Cobb. The younger Paine legally changed his name to Robert Treat in 1801, adopting the name of a brother who had died in 1798. Contemporary Boston Federalists said he wanted to avoid mistaken identification with the “infidel” author of the ...

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Requier, Augustus Julian (27 May 1825–19 March 1887), poet and lawyer, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. His parents (names unknown) were French; his maternal grandfather had been a planter in Haiti, and his father had emigrated from Marseilles. He received a classical education in Charleston; he then studied law and was admitted to the bar in Charleston in 1844. ...