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Bancroft, Frederic A. (30 October 1860–22 February 1945), historian, librarian, and philanthropist, was born Frederic Austin Bancroft in Galesburg, Illinois, the son of Addison Newton Bancroft, a businessman, and Catherine Blair. Bancroft, raised in abolitionist surroundings, attended school at Knox Academy, Knox College (1878–1881), transferred to Amherst College in 1881, and graduated a year later. He entered Columbia University’s School of Political Science in 1882 to study southern history with ...

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Otto Bettmann Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Bettmann, Otto (15 October 1903–01 May 1998), historian and photo archivist, was born in Leipzig, Germany, to Hans Bettmann, an orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Charlotte Frank. The family was Jewish, and Otto grew up in a highly cultured environment, where he was especially drawn to his father's extensive collection of medical literature. As a child he enjoyed working in the darkroom of the elder Bettmann's clinic, where Hans Bettmann pioneered in the use of X-rays for diagnosis. Young Otto made copies of pictorial images he found in his father's books and collected from free publications offered by German medical firms, and in 1916, for his father's birthday, he presented a pictorial history of medicine that he had created from these images....

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Burr, George Lincoln (30 January 1857–27 June 1938), librarian, historian, and educator, was born in Oramel, New York, the son of William Josiah Burr, a physician, and Jane Lincoln. Educated in the public schools of Newark Valley and the Cortland Academy, Burr worked as a printer to pay for his schooling. In 1877 he entered Cornell University, where he received his A.B. four years later. Upon graduation, thanks to the friendship shown by Cornell president ...

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Dexter, Franklin Bowditch (11 September 1842–13 August 1920), educator, librarian, and historian, was born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the son of Rodolphus Williams Dexter, a businessman, and Mary Hathaway Taber. He attended the Williston Seminary in preparation for Yale College, in New Haven, Connecticut, from which he graduated with an A.B. in 1861. He received an A.M. in 1864 and a Litt.D. in 1902. He taught Greek at the Collegiate and Commercial Institute in New Haven from 1861 to 1863 before returning to work at Yale....

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Farrand, Max (29 March 1869–17 June 1945), historian and library director, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Samuel Ashbel Farrand, the headmaster of the Newark Academy, and Louise Wilson. After graduating from his father’s academy in 1885, Farrand entered Princeton University, from which he earned an A.B. in 1892. Although he majored in biology, he was friendly with various undergraduates interested in literature. Having taken a stimulating course in history under ...

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Galbreath, Charles Burleigh (25 February 1858–23 February 1934), librarian, historian, and teacher, was born on a farm in Columbiana County, Ohio, near the town of Leetonia, the son of Edward Paxson Galbreath and Jane Minerva Shaw. His parents were Quakers of Scotch-Irish heritage who moved to Ohio from North Carolina due to their antislavery stand. They instilled in their son an appreciation and interest in the antislavery cause that probably influenced his research on ...

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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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Golder, Frank Alfred (11 August 1877–07 January 1929), historian and library curator, was born near Odessa, Russia, the son of Minnie (maiden name not known) and Joseph Golder, a Talmudic scholar. To escape the virulent anti-Semitic pogroms of the early 1880s, the Golder family in about 1885 emigrated to the United States. They first settled in Bridgeton, New Jersey, where Joseph Golder took whatever odd jobs were available. A Baptist minister named Richard Minch found Frank Golder, whom he remembered as “a little Jew peddlar,” on the streets and provided money for him to go to school. After a few years the Golders moved to Vineland, New Jersey, where they tried farming. In 1893 Golder enrolled in a preparatory school in Georgetown, Kentucky, perhaps aided financially by Reverend Minch. He graduated from it in 1896, then studied at Bucknell University on a two-year program, finally receiving a teacher’s certificate in 1898. In 1899 he signed an American government contract, and from 1900 to 1902 he taught English to children on Unga Island, one of the Aleutian islands. At about this time Golder became a Unitarian....

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Knight, Lucian Lamar (09 February 1868–19 November 1933), editor, archivist, and historian, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Confederate general George Walton Knight, a lawyer and cotton merchant, and his second wife, Clara Corinne Daniel, a teacher. Named for Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar...

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Larned, Josephus Nelson (11 May 1836–15 August 1913), librarian and social historian, was born in Chatham, Canada West (now Ontario, Canada), the son of Henry Sherwood Larned, a contractor, and Mary Ann Nelson. At the age of twelve Larned and his family moved to Buffalo, New York, where he spent much of the rest of his life. Larned’s formal education ended when he was sixteen, and in later years he chided the Buffalo community for not encouraging its young men to strive for higher education....

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Waldo Gifford Leland Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105695).

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Leland, Waldo Gifford (17 July 1879–19 October 1966), historian and archival theorist, was born in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of Luther Erving Leland and Ellen Maria Gifford, public school teachers. Leland attended Newton High School and Brown University, graduating with a B.A. in sociology in 1900. While at Brown he studied with history professor ...

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Marx, Alexander (29 January 1878–26 December 1953), historian and librarian, was born in Elberfeld, Germany, the son of George Marx, a merchant and banker, and Gertrude Simon. The family moved to Königsberg when Alexander was seven, and he received an intensive secular and Jewish religious education. After graduating from the Gymnasium, he spent a year in Halberstadt engaged in rabbinic studies under the tutelage of the renowned Rabbi Joseph Nobel. Between 1896 and 1903 Marx studied at the universities of Berlin and Königsberg and at the Orthodox Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Königsberg in 1903....

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McAvoy, Thomas Timothy (12 September 1903–05 July 1969), priest, archivist, and historian, was born in Tipton, Indiana, the son of Charles Edward McAvoy, a merchant, and Nora Bernardine Walsh. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1925, made final profession of vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross (C.S.C.) that same year, and was ordained a priest in 1929. He taught high school Latin and English from 1929 to 1932, offered courses in American history at Notre Dame from 1933 to 1935, and received a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1940. He was appointed university archivist at Notre Dame in 1929, chairman of the department of history ten years later, and managing editor of the ...

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Moorland, Jesse Edward (10 September 1863–30 April 1940), book collector and religious leader, was born in Coldwater, Ohio, the son of William Edward Mooreland ( sic), a farmer, and his wife Nancy Jane Moore, members of a black family that had been free for several generations. Raised by his maternal grandparents because of his parents’ early deaths, Moorland, an only child, attended Northwestern Normal University in Ada, Ohio, and the theological department of Howard University. In 1886 he married Lucy Corbin Woodson; they had no children. Moorland was ordained to the ministry in the Congregational church in 1891, and became the organizing pastor of a church in South Boston, Virginia, as well as secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Washington, D.C. From 1893 to 1896 he was minister of Howard Chapel, Nashville, Tennessee, and then went to Mt. Zion Congregational Church in Cleveland, Ohio....

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Morgan, Dale Lowell (18 December 1914–30 March 1971), historian, editor, and bibliographer, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of James Lowell Morgan, an office machine salesman, and Emily May Holmes, a schoolteacher. Morgan’s father died when he was six years old, and the burden of caring for the family of four children fell on his mother, who taught in the Salt Lake City public schools. Morgan was a gifted student, but his contracting spinal meningitis at age fourteen seriously changed his life; he was left totally deaf....

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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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Rowland, Dunbar (25 August 1864–01 November 1937), archivist, was born near Oakland in north-central Mississippi, the youngest son of William Brewer Rowland, a physician whose father had brought his family from Virginia to Mississippi in 1840, and Mary Judith Bryan of Yalobusha County, Mississippi, where the couple settled. Rowland had private primary schooling in Memphis, Tennessee, and received high school preparation at Oakland Academy. At age eighteen he matriculated at the new A&M College in Starkville, where he was one of eleven B.S. graduates in 1886. He completed a law degree at the University of Mississippi in 1888 and returned to Memphis to practice law for five years then moved his practice to Coffeeville near Oakland, where his brothers were also settled, in 1893. While practicing law Rowland made a local name for himself as a writer of historical and biographical vignettes for newspapers....

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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 ...