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Lindbergh, Anne Morrow (22 June 1906–07 February 2001), author and aviator, was born Anne Spencer Morrow in Englewood, New Jersey, the second of the four children of Dwight W. Morrow, an investment banker, senator, and diplomat, and Elizabeth Reeve Cutter, a civic leader and advocate for women's education. Dwight Morrow's work took him to many European capitals, and his children often traveled with him. Anne's formal education was at Miss Chapin's School in Manhattan and Smith College, where she received awards for her poetry and essays. Intelligent and extremely observant, Anne was also shy, emotional, and self-critical. She began keeping a diary in her early teens and later characterized herself as someone for whom “an experience was not finished until it was written or shared in conversation” (...

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Merton, Thomas (31 January 1915–10 December 1968), Trappist monk and writer, was born in Prades, France, the son of Owen Merton, a New Zealand–born painter, and Ruth Jenkins, an American. In 1916 the family returned to the United States. Following Merton’s mother’s death of cancer in 1921, his father took him to Bermuda for a year and, after a return to New York, left for France where he enrolled Merton in the Lycée Ingres at Montauban in 1925. In 1928 Merton’s father moved to England to exhibit his paintings. Merton himself left Montauban to enter Oakham School. In 1931 Merton’s father died of a brain tumor while still resident in England. In 1933, thanks to a scholarship, Merton entered Clare College, Cambridge, where he remained until 1934....

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Morris, Willie (29 November 1934–02 August 1999), writer and editor, was born William Weaks Morris in Jackson, Mississippi, the son of Henry Rae Morris, a gas station owner, and Marion Weaks Morris, a part-time piano teacher from a long line of Deep South gentility. Morris counted among his ancestors governors, senators, and the founders of Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now W.Va.). Born into the “old, impoverished, whipped-down South” ( ...