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Alden, Henry Mills (11 November 1836–07 October 1919), editor and author, was born in Mount Tabor, Vermont, the son of Ira Alden, a farmer, and Elizabeth Packard Moore. Alden grew up in a working-class family in rural Vermont and in the manufacturing town of Hoosick, New York, where he worked from dawn until eight o’clock at night as a “bobbin boy” in a cotton factory. With only a sporadic common school education, Alden, at the age of fourteen, decided to prepare for college by entering Ball Seminary, where he performed chores to pay for his tuition. In 1852 Alden graduated valedictorian from Ball Seminary and entered Williams College the next year....

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Allen, Paul (15 February 1775–18 August 1826), editor and poet, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Paul Allen, Sr., a Rhode Island state representative, and Polly Cooke, the daughter of a governor of that state. In 1793 he graduated from Brown University (then Rhode Island College), where he displayed talent as an orator. Several of his orations were published, the earliest being a eulogy on a classmate delivered on 22 November 1792. Allen studied law but never practiced; indeed, most sources follow ...

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Benét, William Rose (02 February 1886–04 May 1950), poet and editor, was born in Fort Hamilton, New York, the son of James Walker Benét, an army ordnance officer, and Frances Neill Rose. He attended the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, graduating in 1907. While at Yale, Benét edited the ...

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Bostwick, Arthur Elmore (08 March 1860–13 February 1942), editor and librarian, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of David Elmore Bostwick, a physician, and Adelaide McKinley. Bostwick took advantage of the cultural assets in his hometown, reading periodicals from a neighbor’s private library, studying romance and classical languages, participating in music ensembles, and attending the Episcopal church where his mother was organist. His innate intellectual abilities were thus stimulated, laying the foundation for an active life of the mind. He attended Yale College, won the first Silliman Fellowship in physical science, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and earned a B.A. in 1881 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1883. Aspiring to a college professorship, he declined an appointment as a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in favor of a temporary position at Yale but, when a permanent post was not forthcoming, he moved to Montclair, New Jersey, where he taught high school from 1884 to 1886. In 1885 Bostwick married Lucy Sawyer, with whom he had three children....

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Malcolm Cowley Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1963. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106863).

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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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Donahoe, Patrick (17 March 1811–18 March 1901), editor and publisher, was born in County Caven, Ireland, the son of Terrence Donahoe and Jane Christy. The father’s occupation is unknown, but the family was clearly poor. In 1821 Patrick and his father immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where the boy received a basic education and entered the printing trades in 1825. Patrick worked as a printer for several Boston newspapers and became co-owner of ...

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Duyckinck, Evert Augustus (23 November 1816–13 August 1878), editor, author, and bibliophile, was born in New York City, the son of Evert Duyckinck, a wealthy publisher and book collector, and Harriet June. He graduated from Columbia College in 1835. He either wrote or cowrote the only issue of ...

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Fischer, John (27 April 1910–18 August 1978), writer and editor, was born in Texhoma, Oklahoma, the son of John S. Fischer, a newspaperman, farm-supply salesman, deed assessor, and land speculator, and Georgie Caperton, a former schoolteacher. Fischer spent his first years in the vast and underpopulated Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. As soon as he could walk, he had chores. “At the age of six,” he remembered, these “included taking care of a pen of chickens, smelly addlebrained creatures that I loathed.” In high school and college, he worked for newspapers in Amarillo, Carlsbad, and Norman. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1932, he was a night police reporter for the ...

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Godwin, Parke (25 February 1816–07 January 1904), journalist and editor, was born in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of Abraham Godwin, a manufacturer and merchant, and Martha Parke. After graduating from Princeton in 1834, he returned to Paterson to study law. He lived briefly in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was admitted to the bar, but before establishing a practice, he moved to New York City. There he met ...

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Henry, Caleb Sprague (02 August 1804–09 March 1884), educator, pastor, and author, was born in Rutland, Massachusetts, the son of Silas Henry and Dorothy Pierce. Henry received his A.B. from Dartmouth in 1825 and later studied at Andover Theological Seminary. At twenty-four years of age, Henry was ordained a pastor in the Congregational denomination and served at churches in Greenfield, Mississippi (1829–1831), and in West Hartford, Connecticut (1833–1835). Henry was a proponent of the peace movement and in 1834 wrote the pamphlet ...

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Peabody, Oliver William Bourn (09 July 1799–05 July 1848), lawyer, editor, and Unitarian clergyman, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of Oliver Peabody, a jurist, politician, and trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy, and Frances Bourn. Oliver had an identical twin brother, William Oliver Bourn Peabody, who achieved prominence as a Unitarian clergyman and miscellaneous author. The twins were nearly identical not only in their names but also in their handwriting, physical appearance, voice, and manner, and they remained in close contact throughout their lives....

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Peck, Harry Thurston (24 November 1856–23 March 1914), classical scholar and writer, was born in Stamford, Connecticut, the son of Harry Peck, a schoolteacher, and Harriet Elizabeth Thurston. Enamored by books, he damaged his eyes by reading by candlelight late at night when his parents thought he was sleeping. At Columbia College he was conspicuous for his mental keenness, making its ...

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Scudder, Horace Elisha (16 October 1838–11 January 1902), editor and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Scudder, a well-to-do hardware and commission merchant, and Sarah Lathrop Coit. The family was active in the Congregational church. Scudder attended the Roxbury Latin School, the Boston Latin School, and then Williams College, edited the ...

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Smith, Lloyd Pearsall (06 February 1822–02 July 1886), librarian, publisher, and editor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Jay Smith, a librarian, and Rachel Collins Pearsall. Following graduation from Haverford College at age fifteen, Smith became a bookkeeper and an accountant in the counting house of Waln & Leaming. In 1844 he married Hannah E. Jones, with whom he later adopted a daughter. While still at Waln & Leaming, Smith began publishing, among other works, ...

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Sparks, Jared (10 May 1789–14 March 1866), historian, editor, and clergyman, was born in Willington, Connecticut, the son of Eleanor Orcutt, who nine months later married Joseph Sparks, a farmer. His early life was somewhat unstable. In the mid-1790s he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle to relieve the burdens of the many children in the family, and with his adoptive family, he settled in 1800 in Camden, New York. In 1805 he moved home for a brief time and then went to live with another uncle in Tolland, Connecticut. There he apprenticed as carpenter and taught in local schools. Early on he displayed interests in literary and historical pursuits along with the more common interest in theology. While in Arlington, Vermont, he organized the Arlington Philosophical Society in 1808. He studied at the Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, beginning in September 1809, the result of Sparks’s early interests in the ministry and his receipt of a scholarship. There he met and became lifelong friends with another future New England historian, ...

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Wallace, DeWitt (12 November 1889–30 March 1981), editor and publisher, was born William Roy (or Roy William) DeWitt Wallace in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of James T. Wallace, an educator, and Janet Davis. DeWitt’s high marks enabled him to skip two grades in elementary school, but his academic achievements after that were spotty. In high school, he was better known for pranks and athletic skills. Wallace enrolled at Macalester College, a Presbyterian institution where his father was president. After his sophomore year he took a job at a bank in Colorado. In his spare time, he read widely in current publications and formed a habit of making notes on articles he found most appealing and on his own ideas. He then returned to school at the University of California, Berkeley. During a visit to Tacoma, Washington, a friend introduced him to Canadian-born Lila Bell Acheson, who later became his wife and business partner....

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Webb, Charles Henry (24 January 1834–24 May 1905), writer and editor, was born in Rouse’s Point, New York, the son of Nathan Webb III and Philena King Paddock. Webb demonstrated an interest in journalism and literature early in life and left Rouse’s Point for New York City in 1851. He began working as a contributor to both the ...

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Weeks, Edward Augustus (19 February 1898–11 March 1989), editor and author, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the son of Edward Weeks, a cotton merchant in Manhattan, and Frederika Suydam. He attended the Pingry School for eleven years, but by his own admission he was a slow learner who also felt handicapped by his small stature and perpetually thought of himself as a “runt.” When low marks on the entrance examination denied him admission to Princeton University, he was sent by his father to Cornell in the fall of 1916 to study engineering, a field for which he had neither aptitude nor interest. By the end of his freshman year he had suffered the dual humiliations of failing to make the rowing team and being placed on academic probation....

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Whipple, Guy Montrose (12 June 1876–01 August 1941), educational psychologist and editor, was born in Danvers, Massachusetts, the son of John Francis Whipple, a wounded Civil War veteran working as mail carrier, and Cornelia Eliza Hood, a schoolteacher who took up painting in her old age. He received an A.B. from Brown University in 1897, spent a year as assistant in psychology at Clark University, and in 1898 moved to a similar position at Cornell University. In 1901 he married Clarice Johnson Rogers; they had three sons. In 1925 he married Helen Davis, they had one son....