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June Granatir Alexander

Adamic, Louis (23 March 1899–04 September 1951), writer, was born in Blato, Carniola (modern-day Slovenia), the son of Anton Adamic, a peasant landholder, and Ana Adamic (a distant relative of Anton). Adamic spent four years at a local school and one at a primary school before advancing to a Gymnasium in Ljubljana. After completing two years there, his involvement in a nationalist demonstration led to his expulsion in 1913. Resisting his parents’ wishes that he enter a Jesuit seminary to study for the priesthood, Adamic immigrated to the United States in December 1913. He first worked in the mail room of a Slovene American newspaper in New York and in 1916 became an editorial assistant. After the paper ceased publication later that year, Adamic had several manual labor jobs. In 1917 he enlisted in the army and the following year became a naturalized citizen. Discharged in 1920, he drifted and finally in December 1922 arrived in California, where he worked as a day laborer and then as a reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper. Unhappy with the hectic life of a journalist, he quit in June 1923, found a job as a dock worker, and then became a port pilots’ clerk. The position allowed the aspiring author time to write. Adamic’s early publications were primarily translations of Slavic works, but by the mid-1920s he was producing a wide range of original items for Haldeman-Julius publications (see ...

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Adams, Brooks (24 June 1848–13 February 1927), historian, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Francis Adams, a U.S. congressman and ambassador to Great Britain, and Abigail Brown Brooks. Educated in England during the American Civil War, he returned home in 1865, entered Harvard College the following year, and graduated in 1870 in spite of being convicted of plagiarism. After studying at Harvard Law School in 1870 and 1871, Adams joined his father in Geneva, Switzerland, to work on the Alabama Claims Arbitration, settling maritime claims arising from Civil War raiding. After some travel around Europe, he returned to Boston and opened a law practice. His main interest throughout the 1870s was reform politics. In Boston’s Commonwealth Club and in articles for the ...

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Adams, Henry (16 February 1838–27 March 1918), historian, novelist, and critic, was born Henry Brooks Adams in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Francis Adams, a diplomat, legislator, and writer, and Abigail Brooks. He enjoyed unparalleled advantages, chief among them his famous name and many family connections: he was the great-grandson of President ...

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Adams, James Truslow (18 October 1878–18 May 1949), historian, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of William Newton Adams, Jr., a disappointed stockbroker, and Elizabeth Harper Truslow. Adams attended the Brooklyn Polytechnic School for both his secondary and his college education, earning a B.A. in 1898. He was president of his class, valedictorian, and class poet. He then began graduate work in philosophy at Yale University but quit, bored, after a few months. Nevertheless, as was common then, he received an M.A. in 1900 for a fee of ten dollars....

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Allen, Frederick Lewis (05 July 1890–13 February 1954), editor and social historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Frederick Baylies Allen, a clergyman, and Alberta Hildegarde Lewis. Allen was educated at Groton School and Harvard University, where he received his B.A. in English in 1912 and his M.A. in 1913 in modern languages. Allen edited the literary magazine at Harvard and subsequently taught composition there for two years; he became an assistant editor at the ...

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Cleveland Amory Standing next to a display case containing a variety of chess sets, 1962. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112709).

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Amory, Cleveland (02 September 1917–14 October 1998), writer and animal rights advocate, was born in Nahant, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Amory, a textile manufacturer, and his wife, Leonore Cobb Amory. Both parents were descendants of long-established upper-class families in Boston, where Cleveland grew up in a privileged household. He was educated at private schools, including Milton Academy, and enrolled at Harvard in 1935. After graduating four years later, he worked briefly as a reporter for the ...

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Asbury, Herbert (01 September 1891–24 February 1963), journalist and popular historian, was born in Farmington, Missouri, the son of Samuel Lester Asbury, a surveyor and city clerk, and Ellen N. Prichard. His grandfather and great-grandfather were Methodist ministers. Asbury claimed that his great-great uncle was ...

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Mary Austin. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-111457).

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Austin, Mary Hunter (09 September 1868–13 August 1934), writer, was born in Carlinville, Illinois, the daughter of George Hunter, an attorney, and Susannah Savilla Graham. Throughout her earliest years, Austin’s father, who was her sole source of literary and personal support, suffered from ill health owing to a malarial fever contracted during his Civil War service. After the deaths of her father and sister, which occurred when she was ten years old, Austin led a lonely life in a home where her mother’s emotional energy was devoted to her eldest son. Writing became the solitary child’s means of expression. She studied art and majored in science at Blackburn College, receiving her B.S. in 1888. Although her first twenty years were spent in the Midwest, Austin dedicated much of her life as a writer to the culture and landscape of the Southwest. In 1888 she moved with her mother and siblings to California’s San Joaquin Valley, where the family established a desert homestead and she taught school. In 1891 she married Stafford Wallace Austin; they had a daughter the following year. Her daughter was severely retarded, and Austin was eventually forced to commit her to an institution, where she died in 1918....

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Barnes, Harry Elmer (15 June 1889–25 August 1968), historian and sociologist, was born on a farm near Auburn, New York, the son of William Henry Barnes, Jr., a farmer, teacher, and later a prison guard, and Lulu C. Short. After graduating from high school in 1906, Barnes spent several years as a construction laborer and principal of a two-room village school in Montezuma, a small canal town in central New York. From 1909 to 1913 he attended Syracuse University, from which he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in history. From 1913 to 1915 Barnes was instructor in sociology and economics at Syracuse, which awarded him an M.A. for work on the development of social philosophy from Plato to Comte. From 1915 to 1917 he was a graduate student at Columbia University, during which time he held a fellowship that allowed him to research at Harrow University from fall 1916 through early spring 1917, and in the subsequent academic year he taught at Columbia and Barnard. In 1918 he received a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University; his dissertation focused on the history of the New Jersey prison system. In 1916 he married Grace Stone; they had one child. After divorcing Stone eleven years later, he married Jean Hutchison Newman in 1935....

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Becker, Carl Lotus (07 September 1873–10 April 1945), historian, was born on a farm in Black Hawk County, Iowa, the son of Charles DeWitt Becker, a Union army veteran, and Almeda Sarvay. In 1884 the family moved fifteen miles to Waterloo. Becker, who had attended a small rural school, excelled at West Side High School and proceeded in 1892 to Cornell College, a Methodist school in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. A year later he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Madison....

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Arna Bontemps Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1939. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100856).

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Bontemps, Arna Wendell (13 October 1902–04 June 1973), writer, was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, the son of Paul Bismark Bontemps, a bricklayer, and Maria Carolina Pembroke, a schoolteacher. He was reared in Los Angeles, where his family moved when he was three. He graduated from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, in 1923....

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Buley, Roscoe Carlyle (08 July 1893–25 April 1968), historian, was born in Georgetown, Indiana, the son of David Marion Buley, a physician, and Nora Keithley. He graduated from Vincennes High School and entered Indiana University in 1910, earning a B.A. in 1914 with a major in history and minors in government and economics. After teaching high school for a year at Delphi, Indiana, he returned to Bloomington as a research fellow and in 1916 received an A.M. in history with a master’s thesis titled “Indiana in the Mexican War.” He taught high school for two more years, at Muncie, Indiana, before serving in the U.S. Army in 1918–1919. He then returned to high school teaching, in Springfield, Illinois, and in 1923 began work on his doctorate in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He wrote his dissertation, “The Political Balance in the Old Northwest, 1820–1860,” under the direction of Frederic Paxson....

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Ralph Bunche Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1951. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109113).

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Bunche, Ralph Johnson (07 August 1904–09 December 1971), scholar and diplomat, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Fred Bunch, a barber, and Olive Agnes Johnson. His grandmother added an “e” to the family’s last name following a move to Los Angeles, California. Because his family moved frequently, Bunche attended a number of public schools before graduating first in his class from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles in 1922. He majored in political science at the University of California, Southern Branch (now University of California at Los Angeles or UCLA). He graduated summa cum laude and served as class valedictorian in 1927. He continued his studies in political science at Harvard, receiving his M.A. in 1928, then taught at Howard University in Washington, D.C., while working toward his Ph.D. at Harvard. In 1930 he married Ruth Ethel Harris; they had three children. Bunche traveled to Europe and Africa researching his dissertation and received his Ph.D. from Harvard in February 1934....

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Calkins, Clinch (15 July 1895–26 December 1968), poet, polemicist, and novelist, was born Marion Clinch Calkins in Evansville, Wisconsin, the daughter of Judson Wells Calkins, a politically liberal owner of a general store, and Julia Clinch, a lover of music and literature. Calkins graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1918, packed artillery shells in a Milwaukee plant, and then returned to Madison to teach in the university’s English and art history departments and to do social work. She submitted a poem, “I Was a Maiden,” to an annual competition in the ...

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Calvert, George Henry (02 June 1803–24 May 1889), author, was born on his family’s estate near Bladensburg, Maryland, the son of George Calvert, a planter and politician, and Rosalie Eugenia Stier. As a child, Calvert was raised to be mindful of his aristocratic heritage—his paternal great-grandfather was the fifth Lord Baltimore, the founder of Maryland, and on his maternal side he was a descendant of Peter Paul Rubens—and his childhood years were spent in a style befitting a young man of wealth and gentility. In 1819 Calvert entered Harvard College, where he remained until 1823, at which time he was dismissed along with thirty other students for participating in the “Great Rebellion,” a protest aimed at limiting the restrictions over student activities, but which ultimately led to the students protesting the quality of the education that they were receiving at Harvard. After leaving Harvard, Calvert journeyed to Europe and stayed with an uncle in Antwerp before spending fifteen months studying history and philosophy at the University of Göttingen. Concurrent and subsequent to his time at Göttingen, Calvert traveled to Weimar, where he met Goethe, and he then visited Edinburgh, Paris, and Antwerp again before returning to America in 1827. Calvert settled in Baltimore, where he served as editor of the ...

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Cram, Ralph Adams (16 December 1863–22 September 1942), architect and cultural critic, was born in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, the son of William Augustine Cram, a Unitarian minister, and Sarah Elizabeth Blake. Cram’s early career was strongly affected by his father’s decision to abandon his profession and return to the family farm in New Hampshire to care for his elderly parents. As a result, the young Cram received no formal education after completing high school in 1880; instead, he was formed by a combination of apprenticeship in the office of the Boston, Massachusetts, architectural firm of Rotch and Tilden; extensive travel abroad, financed in part through prizes won in architectural competitions; and voluminous personal reading....