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Aitken, Robert (22 January 1735–15 July 1802), printer and publisher, was born in Dalkeith, Scotland. His parents’ names are unknown. Sometime after serving a regular apprenticeship with a bookbinder in Edinburgh, he became established in Paisley, Scotland, as a binder, bookseller, and proprietor of a circulating library. From there he moved to Philadelphia in May 1771 with his wife, Janet Skeoch, and two children, the eldest of whom was seven; two more children were later born in Philadelphia. In June he opened a stationer’s shop and what was soon “the largest and most valuable bookstore” in the city. With the publication in 1773 of ...

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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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Barrett, Benjamin Fiske (24 June 1808–06 August 1892), pastor, writer, and publisher, was born in Dresden, Maine, the son of Oliver Barrett, a carpenter, and Elizabeth Carlton. Young Benjamin was anxious to obtain an education and took delight in mastering his preparatory studies. Through his own labor he was able to attend Bowdoin College, graduating with a B.A. in 1832. Although not raised in any Christian denomination, Barrett became attracted to Unitarianism while in college. He subsequently attended Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1838. He was ordained in the Unitarian church that same year and assigned to a parish at Syracuse, New York....

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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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Bradford, Andrew (1686?–24 November 1742), printer and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Bradford, a printer and journalist, and Elizabeth Sowle, whose father, Andrew Sowle, was a printer in London. After being arrested and released for printing a pamphlet by Quaker apostate ...

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Collier, Peter Fenelon (12 December 1849–24 April 1909), publisher, was born in Myshall, County Carlow, Ireland, the son of Robert C. Collier and Catherine Fenelon. With his family he immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen. He began his education in the Irish countryside and continued at St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. His parents had often urged him to join the priesthood, but at the age of twenty Collier left the seminary and settled in New York City, where he found work as a salesman with a publishing firm specializing in Catholic books....

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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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Crain, Gustavus Dedman, Jr. (19 November 1885–15 December 1973), publisher, was born in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, the son of Gustavus Dedman, Sr., a salesman, and Anna Edwards. “G. D.” Crain, as he later called himself (he hated his first name), attended public schools in Louisville, Kentucky. He later accepted a scholarship to Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English. Immediately after graduating from Centre College in 1904, Crain became a reporter for the ...

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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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Funk, Wilfred John (20 March 1883–01 June 1965), publisher and writer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Isaac Kauffman Funk, a Lutheran minister turned publisher, and Helen Gertrude Thompson. His father was one of the founders of the Funk and Wagnalls publishing firm, a business he would later pass on to his son....

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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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Harper, Fletcher (31 January 1806–29 May 1877), publisher, was born in Newtown, Long Island, New York, the son of Joseph Harper and Elizabeth Kolyer. Joseph Harper, born in England, was a farmer, carpenter, and storekeeper; his wife was a Dutch burgher’s daughter. His parents, who were wise and loving, pious and strict, taught him and his three brothers, ...

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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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Herr, Daniel (11 February 1917–28 September 1990), journalist and publisher, was born in Huron, Ohio, the son of William Patrick Herr, a worker in the railroad industry, and Wilhelmina Stryker. Herr was raised in a devoutly Roman Catholic family and graduated from Fordham University, receiving a B.A. in 1938. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, rising from the rank of private to major; severely wounded in action in the Buna campaign in 1942, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry. Following the war he worked as a reporter for the ...

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Elbert Hubbard Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-108201).