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Hentoff, Nat (10 June 1925–7 Jan. 2017), writer and social critic, was born Nathan Irving Hentoff in Boston to Simon Hentoff, a haberdasher, and Lena Katzenberg Hentoff. Both parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. From an early age young Nat, as he was known, read widely and absorbed the intense political discussions that swirled around him in his Jewish working-class neighborhood, populated mostly by émigrés who were variously socialists, communists, and anarchists. Growing up in an Orthodox household, he often encountered anti-Semitism when he ventured outside his immediate milieu, giving him, he later recalled, an intense sympathy for the underdog. That experience also engendered a fierce desire to excel that gained him entrance to the Boston Latin School, a public institution that admitted only the brightest students in the city....

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Rosenfeld, Paul Leopold (04 May 1890–21 July 1946), music critic, essayist, and novelist, was born in the Mt. Morris section of the Bronx, in New York City, the son of Julius Rosenfeld, a successful manufacturer of textiles, and Sarah Liebmann, of the wealthy Liebmann Brewery family, a serious amateur pianist. His father was steeped in literature, music, and art. When Rosenfeld was ten years old his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal grandmother, who three years later enrolled him at the Riverview Military Academy in Poughkeepsie, New York. He skipped athletics, studied music and literature, and on Saturday afternoons boarded the train for New York City to attend concerts and the theater. In 1908, just as Rosenfeld was about to enter Yale University, his father died....