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Leonard, William Ellery (25 January 1876–02 May 1944), philologist, poet, and dramatist, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of the Reverend William James Leonard and Martha Whitcomb. Named after the famous Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing (1780–1842), he dropped Channing by the time he reached college. Reverend Leonard, himself a native of Plainfield, had been a Baptist minister in Chicago but suddenly resigned his pastorate when he could no longer accept the religious beliefs of his congregation. At the time of Ellery’s birth he was editor of the ...

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Moody, William Vaughn (08 July 1869–17 October 1910), poet, playwright, and educator, was born in Spencer, Indiana, the son of Francis Burdette Moody and Henriette Emily Stoy. Prior to Will’s birth, Burdette Moody was captain and part-owner of two Mississippi riverboats, one of which was confiscated by the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil War. Never recovering from this financial setback, “Captain Moody” dutifully abandoned the freedom and adventure of the river to work the rest of his life as a secretary in the Stoy family’s ironworks at New Albany, Indiana, where Will spent his childhood. Henriette, an accomplished artist but an invalid for much of her life, nourished Will’s interest in the arts and encouraged his devotion to Methodism. From this environment, Will developed a respect for the Protestant ethic, which later warred with his humanistic values and devotion to freedom....