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Clarke, Mary Bayard Devereux (13 May 1827–30 March 1886), poet and editor, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughter of Thomas Pollock Devereux—Yale graduate, lawyer, and owner of several large plantations—and Catherine Anne Johnson, great-granddaughter of Samuel Johnson (1696–1772), first president of King’s College (now Columbia University) in New York. Among her other ancestors were five colonial governors. Her brother, John, was educated at Yale; and after her mother’s death in 1836, Mary and her sisters were taught at home by an English governess who closely followed the Yale course of study....

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Foley, Martha (21 March 1897–05 September 1977), editor and writer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Irish-American parents, Walter Foley, a physician, and Millicent McCarty, a schoolteacher who had also written a novel and a book of verse. When both of her parents fell ill, Foley was sent with her half-brother to stay with a family who, she later wrote, “either did not like or did not understand children.” It was a harsh and brutal period in her life, mitigated only, she recalled, by the fact that her parents’ library went with her. “Those books became home to me,” she wrote, “the only home I was to know for a long time.”...