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Draper, Richard (24 February 1727–05 June 1774), Massachusetts Loyalist, printer, and publisher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Draper, the publisher of the Boston News-Letter, and Deborah Green. His mother came from a family of official printers in Connecticut going back six generations to ...

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Ford, Guy Stanton (09 May 1873–29 December 1962), historian, editor, and academic administrator, was born in Liberty Corners, Salem Township, Wisconsin, the son of Thomas D. Ford, a medical doctor, and Helen E. Shumway, a teacher. During Guy’s early childhood, his father’s drinking and business failures forced his mother, with her two sons, to move in with a series of relatives, eventually leading them to Sutherland, Iowa, in 1883. Shortly thereafter his father moved to Plainfield, Iowa, a town of about 300 people. In 1884 the family reunited in Plainfield. Thomas Ford was an extremely impractical man and the family lived in relative poverty throughout Guy’s years in Plainfield....

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Ginn, Edwin (14 February 1838–21 January 1914), publisher and peace advocate, was born in Orland, Hancock County, Maine, the son of James Ginn, a farmer who also had interests in lumber and shipbuilding, and Sarah Blood. Growing up in relative poverty and poor health, he attended local country schools on an intermittent basis. At the age of twelve he went to work as a cook in a logging camp that his father had established, and he later worked on a fishing schooner on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. After returning from his fishing voyage, he attended the local high school in Orland and also attended the seminary in nearby Bucksport in order to learn Latin. Ginn finished his college preparatory work at Westbrook Seminary, during which he supported himself by teaching in local schools during the winter, fishing in the summer, and working intermittently on the family farm....

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Kahn, Albert Eugene (11 May 1912–15 September 1979), political activist, writer, and publisher, was born in London, England. The names of his parents cannot be ascertained. He attended Dartmouth College, where he served as class poet, was a member of the track and boxing teams, and earned a baccalaureate degree in 1934. In the same year he married Harriet Pillsbury Warner (known also as Riette), a sculptor, and they had three children....

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Maxwell, William (1766 or 1767?–10 September 1809), pioneer printer, newspaper editor, and office holder, was long thought, based on statements made by his descendants, to have been born about 1755 in New York or New Jersey, the son of William Maxwell, an immigrant from Scotland. Current scholarship infers a probable birth date of 1766 or 1767 from a contemporary newspaper obituary and suggests several additional mid-Atlantic states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland) as possible places of origin. Little is known of Maxwell’s early life, including his mother’s identity. Although he is reputed to have served as a revolutionary war soldier, his participation has not been confirmed by extant military records....

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McFarland, J. Horace (24 September 1859–02 October 1948), printer, civic reformer, and rosarian, was born John Horace McFarland in McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, the son of George Fisher McFarland, a schoolteacher, and Adeline Dellicher Griesemer. Following the Civil War, the family moved to Harrisburg, where Horace’s father bought and operated the Riverside Nurseries, a large property along the Susquehanna River. When he was sixteen, McFarland started setting type for the ...

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Mein, John (1732–1810), bookseller, printer, and Loyalist publisher, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of John Mein, a burgess and guildsman of Edinburgh and a slater by trade. His mother’s name is unknown. John, Jr., was also enrolled as a burgess and guildsman in December 1760. Little is known about Mein apart from his role in supporting British policy during the revolutionary crisis. He emigrated to Boston in November 1764 and set up the first of his three shops in company with ...

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Revere, Paul ( December 1734–10 May 1818), craftsman, patriot, and businessman, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Paul Revere, a goldsmith, and Deborah Hichborn (or Hitchborn). Revere’s father, born Apollos Rivoire, emigrated from France to Boston in 1715 at the age of thirteen and apprenticed with John Coney, a prominent local gold/silversmith. Shortly before his marriage he changed his name, first to Paul Rivoire and then to Paul Revere. The son’s birth date has long been the source of confusion since only his baptismal date, 22 December 1734 OS and 1 January 1735 NS, is recorded. Revere’s early life, fairly typical of boys of his day and economic status, included basic schooling at the North Writing School. During his teens he entered into a formal agreement with fellow North End youths to ring the bells at Christ Church for a fee. Revere’s own words, “My Father was a Goldsmith. … I learned the trade of him,” confirm that as the eldest surviving son, he apprenticed with his father, thus beginning his most enduring occupation. Though overshadowed by the fame of his son, the elder Revere’s skill as a gold/silversmith may actually have equaled that of his son. The younger Revere noted that his father died “in the year 1754, he left no estate, but he left a good name.” Just nineteen years old, Revere ran the shop with the help of his mother. In 1756 he received a commission as a second lieutenant of artillery and spent the better part of a year on an unsuccessful expedition to capture the French fort at Crown Point on Lake Champlain....

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Paul Revere. Drawing by Charles Févret de Saint-Mémin. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-7407).

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Robertson, James (1747–24 April 1816), Loyalist printer and journalist, was born in Stonehaven, Scotland, the son of Alexander Robertson, a printer, and possibly Elizabeth Anderson. (Records show that she was at some point married to his father but not whether she was the mother of his children.) James learned the trade of printing in his father’s shop in Edinburgh, but he did not remain in Scotland. In 1766 he sailed for America, seeking better opportunities for economic success. Robertson became a journeyman printer in the shop of ...

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Russell, Benjamin (13 September 1761–04 January 1845), printer, newspaper editor, and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Russell, a mason. By his fourteenth year he had learned the rudiments of typesetting by working around Isaiah Thomas’s Boston printing house. Benjamin’s career as a newspaperman was determined, in part, by his boyish curiosity when he followed British troops marching toward what turned out to be the battle of Concord on 19 April 1775. But British forces closed off travel between Boston and the outlying areas, preventing him from returning home....