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Baum, L. Frank (15 May 1856–06 May 1919), children's author, journalist, and playwright, children’s author, journalist, and playwright, was born Lyman Frank Baum in Chittenango, New York, the son of Benjamin Ward Baum, a cooper and sawyer who had made a fortune in Pennsylvania oil, and Cynthia Stanton. He grew up on the family estate, “Roselawn,” outside Syracuse, New York. Suffering from a congenitally weak heart, he was educated at home. A stay at Peekskill Military Academy beginning in 1868—which gave Baum a lifelong antipathy to academics and the military—ended less than two years later in his having a heart attack. Back home, he published a family newspaper and periodicals on stamp collecting and the breeding of fancy chickens. In 1881 he studied theater in New York City and joined a repertory company, then managed an opera house in Richburg, New York, from 1881 to 1882, and, with his father’s financing, toured successfully with ...

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Bok, Edward William (09 October 1863–09 January 1930), editor, philanthropist, and peace advocate, was born in den Helder, Holland, the son of William John Hidde Bok and Sieke Gertrude van Herwerden, who, having lost their inherited fortune through unwise investments, immigrated to the United States in 1870. They settled in Brooklyn, where Bok and his older brother learned English in public school. With his father at first unable to find steady employment, Bok delivered newspapers, worked in a bakery, and wrote up childrens’ parties for the ...

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Bruce, Archibald ( February 1777–22 February 1818), physician, mineralogist, and editor, was born in New York City, the son of William Bruce, a British army medical officer, and Judith Bayard Van Rensselaer. Despite his father’s expressed wish, Bruce pursued medical education and practice. After taking an A.B. at Columbia College in 1797, he continued his studies in New York and then moved on to Edinburgh (M.D., 1800). As was common in this period, his medical education included exposure to the natural sciences, and Bruce developed a lifelong interest in mineralogy. After completing his M.D., he extended his European stay with travels on the Continent to study mineralogy and collect materials for his own mineralogical cabinet....

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Burton, William Evans (24 September 1802–10 February 1860), actor and editor, was born in London, England, the son of William George Burton, a printer (maiden name unknown). Hoping his child would become a clergyman, the elder Burton enrolled him at St. Paul’s School, but at the age of eighteen Burton had to withdraw and take charge of his family’s printing business when his father died....

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Cattell, James McKeen (25 May 1860–20 January 1944), psychologist and editor, was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, the son of William C. Cattell, a Presbyterian minister and president of Lafayette College in Easton, and Elizabeth McKeen, the daughter of James McKeen, the college’s most generous benefactor. Cattell grew up as the scion of Easton’s leading family, and even as a student at Lafayette (A.B., 1880) he came to expect the deference of others. His family’s closeness led him to study the ethics of Comtean positivism, which idealized the mother’s sacrifice in childbirth as the model of all altruistic behavior. At Lafayette, the teaching of philologist Francis Andrew March—especially March’s emphasis on the philosophy of Francis Bacon—impressed him. Cattell developed an approach to science that combined a Comtean emphasis on quantification with a Baconian appreciation for the hypothesis-free collection of empirical “facts” and the usefulness of science. Throughout his career he adopted methods that produced quantitative data about psychological phenomena, even if he often could not explain them....

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Chambers, Whittaker (01 April 1901–09 July 1961), magazine editor and anti-Communist, was born Jay Vivian Chambers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jay Chambers, a staff artist on the New York World, and Laha Whittaker, an actress. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Brooklyn, New York, then settled in Lynbrook on Long Island’s south shore. The family home was spartan and contentious, and his parents separated around 1908. It was at this time that he took the name David Whittaker. After graduating from high school, Chambers, now calling himself Charles Adams, and a friend obtained work for four months as day laborers in Washington, D.C. They then unsuccessfully sought employment in New Orleans. Late in 1919 Chambers returned to Lynbrook, agreeing to work at his father’s advertising firm in New York City. Now known as Whittaker Chambers, he also enrolled at Columbia University. Discarding the conservative Republicanism of his parents and influenced by a cadre of young intellectuals, he was attracted to Marxism. As editor in chief of the ...

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Cowley, Malcolm (24 August 1898–28 March 1989), literary critic and editor, was born in a farmhouse near Belsano, Pennsylvania, the son of William Cowley, a homeopathic physician, and Josephine Hutmacher. After attending Pittsburgh public schools, in which he began a lifelong friendship with the critic ...

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Curtis, Cyrus H. K. (18 June 1850–07 June 1933), publisher, was born Cyrus Hermann Kotzschmar Curtis in Portland, Maine, the son of Cyrus Libby Curtis, a salesman, and Salome Ann Cummings. Forced by economic necessity to leave school after completing the ninth grade, Curtis often recalled that he began his publishing career as a newsboy for the ...

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William L. O’Neill

Eastman, Max (04 January 1883–25 March 1969), writer, was born Max Forrester Eastman in Canandaigua, New York, the son of Samuel Elijah Eastman and Annis Bertha Ford, both ordained ministers of the Congregational church. From the age of eleven to eighteen he lived in Elmira, New York, where his mother was associate pastor of Park Church. He graduated from Williams College in 1905, and from 1907 to 1910 he studied philosophy under ...

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Eckman, Frederick (27 October 1924–28 October 1996), poet, editor, scholar, and teacher, was born Frederick Willis Eckman in Continental, Ohio, the son of Hector B. Eckman, a mechanic, and Helen E. Osborn Eckman. Fred Eckman grew up in the environs of small-town, rural Ohio and attended public schools. His affinity for language and the dramatic emerged early. He read voraciously, and schoolmates recall impromptu dramatic productions in barns and garages. During World War II, he served as a surgical technician in the U.S. Army and enrolled in premedical courses at the University of Florida. Following his discharge in 1946, Eckman enrolled at Ohio State University, majoring in English. He married Mary Louise Drummer Campbell in March of 1947; a son, Thomas Frederick Eckman, was born the following October....

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Eliot, T. S. (26 September 1888–04 January 1965), poet, critic, and editor, was born Thomas Stearns Eliot in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Henry Ware Eliot, president of the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company, and Charlotte Champe Stearns, a former teacher, an energetic social work volunteer at the Humanity Club of St. Louis, and an amateur poet with a taste for ...

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Fishbein, Morris (22 July 1889–27 September 1976), medical editor and writer, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Benjamin Fishbein, a hardware salesman, and Fanny Gluck. When Morris was about three, the family moved to Indianapolis, where in a modest but comfortable home that overflowed with books, he became a voracious reader. Complementing his secular education was his upbringing in Conservative Judaism....

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Gilder, Richard Watson (08 February 1844–18 November 1909), editor and writer, was born in Bordentown, New Jersey, the son of the Reverend William Henry Gilder, a Methodist minister and headmaster of a “Female Seminary,” and Jane Nutt. Most of Gilder’s early education took place in another school for girls run by his family in Flushing, New York, but all the evidence suggests a normal and happy boyhood, which included precocious interests in things literary. When only twelve, he frequented the offices of the Flushing ...

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Gould, George Milbry (08 November 1848–08 August 1922), medical editor and writer, was born in Auburn, Maine, the son of George Thomas Gould and Eliza A. Lapham, professions unknown. His mother died when he was very young, and he moved with his father and stepmother to Salina, Ohio. He received his early education in the Salina public schools. In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Sixty-third Ohio Volunteers of the Union army as a drummer boy. He served for eighteen months before he was discharged because of illness. In 1864 he enlisted as a soldier in the 141st Ohio Volunteers and was discharged when the war ended. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University and graduated in 1873 with an A.B. To pay for his undergraduate education, Gould worked as a compositor in a printing shop. He left Ohio, entered the Harvard Divinity School, and graduated in 1874 with a bachelor of sacred theology degree, followed by postgraduate studies in Paris, Leipzig, and Berlin....

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Grosvenor, Gilbert Hovey (28 October 1875–04 February 1966), magazine editor, was born in Istanbul (then Constantinople), Turkey, one of a pair of identical twins born to Edwin Augustus Grosvenor, a clergyman and history professor at Robert College, and Lillian Hovey Waters. Grosvenor so appreciated being a twin that he later described it as “next to a wife … the greatest favor the Lord can give a man.” Except for a short period during the Russo-Turkish War of 1878, the twins were raised by their parents in Turkey. When they were fifteen, Grosvenor and his brother arrived in the United States and attended preparatory school at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts. The brothers then entered Amherst College, where their father was then serving as a history professor, in the fall of 1893. Both were elected to Phi Beta Kappa and were honor graduates in 1897. The twins were the subject of an article in ...

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Hoffman, Charles Fenno (07 February 1806–07 June 1884), writer and editor, was born in New York City, the son of Josiah Ogden Hoffman, a prominent judge, and his second wife, Maria Fenno. At the age of eleven, Hoffman was seriously injured in an accident along the New York docks, resulting in the amputation of his right leg above the knee. In spite of the accident, he was an avid athlete and outdoorsman. In 1821 he entered Columbia College, where he was active in student life but never rose above the bottom fifth of his class. He left Columbia after two years, and in 1823 he began to study law in the Albany office of Harmanus Bleeker. Admitted to the bar in 1827, he returned to New York and began to practice law. Soon after, he began contributing essays, reviews, and poems to the ...

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Holt, Hamilton Bowen (19 August 1872–26 April 1951), editor, reformer, and college president, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of George Chandler Holt, an attorney and judge, and Mary Louisa Bowen. Holt grew up in Spuyten Duyvil, New York, attending several private schools and graduating from Columbia Grammar School in 1890. After receiving his A.B. from Yale in 1894, he studied sociology and economics for three years at Columbia University. In 1899 he married Alexina Crawford Smith; they had four children. In his prime Holt was a large, broad-shouldered man who possessed a warm personality and great energy....

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Hubbard, Elbert Green (19 June 1856–07 May 1915), author and publisher, was born in Bloomington, Illinois, the son of Dr. Silas Hubbard, a physician, and Juliana Frances Read. After Elbert’s birth, the family moved to rural Hudson, Illinois. Elbert’s childhood was ordinary enough. He paid as little attention to school as possible, but he couldn’t avoid religion, which he got in triple doses from his father’s family prayers, the nearby Baptist church, and from the Bible readings that formed a part of the school curriculum of the day. He never submitted to baptism and in his later writings took the position that religion was a crutch that lessened a man’s self-reliance. Although he tried to avoid as much religion and school as possible, Hubbard could not stay away from horses. The first twelve dollars he saved from his chores went to purchase a horse, and in his later writings he often said that he preferred the company of a good horse to that of many a man he had met....

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Josephson, Matthew (15 February 1899–13 March 1978), writer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Julius Josephson, a banker, and Sarah Kasindorf. A child of Jewish immigrants from Romania and Russia, Josephson graduated from Columbia University in 1920. That same year he married Hannah Geffen, a nineteen-year-old reporter for the ...

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Lovett, Robert Morss (25 December 1870–08 February 1956), educator, writer, and reformer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Augustus Sidney Lovett, an insurance broker, and Elizabeth Russell. Lovett grew up in the Roxbury section of Boston and then went to Harvard, where he graduated at the head of his class with an A.B. in English in 1892....