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Albers, Josef (19 March 1888–25 March 1976), painter, designer, and educator, was born in Bottrop, Germany, the son of Lorenz Albers, a house painter and craftsman, and Magdalena Schumacher. He graduated in 1908 from the teachers’ college in Büren and went on to teach in public schools in Bottrop and neighboring Westphalian towns. In the summer of 1908 he traveled to Munich to view modern art in the galleries and the historical collections of the Pinakothek. Albers’s earliest known drawing, ...

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Joel Allen Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102410).

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Allen, Joel Asaph (19 July 1838–29 August 1921), zoologist and museum official, was born near Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Joel Allen, a carpenter, housebuilder, and later a farmer, and Harriet Trumbull, a former schoolteacher. Allen attended the local public schools in the wintertime, but his father, a rigidly puritanical Congregationalist, insisted that he work on the family farm during good weather. From the age of about fourteen, as Allen’s interest in natural history, particularly birds, increased, his interest in farming diminished. He nevertheless worked long hours for his father in a spirit of filial loyalty, possibly laying the foundation for the serious bouts of ill health that would plague him in later years. Whenever possible, he prepared study specimens of birds and animals for his own private collection. From 1858 to 1862 Allen’s father supported his intermittent attendance at nearby Wilbraham Academy....

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Angle, Paul McClelland (25 December 1900–11 May 1975), historian and museum director, was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of John Elmer Angle, a grocer, and Nellie Laverne McClelland. After spending his freshman year at Oberlin College, he transferred to Miami University at Ohio and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1922. Two years later, he received an M.A. in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then took a job with the American Book Company selling textbooks and in 1925 accepted the secretaryship of a little-known historical society in Springfield, Illinois, the Abraham Lincoln Centennial Association. In 1926 he married Vesta Verne Magee, a fellow student at Miami; they had two children....

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Anshutz, Thomas Pollock (05 October 1851–16 June 1912), artist and art teacher, was born in Newport, Kentucky, the son of Jacob Anshutz and Jane Abigail Pollock. Very little information survives about his parents or his youth, though he seems to have received an early education in Newport. In 1871 Anshutz moved to Brooklyn, New York, to study art. There he lived with an uncle who had been favorably impressed by the young man’s drawings of boats on the Ohio River. Enrolling in 1873 at the prestigious National Academy of Design in New York City, Anshutz took cast- and life-drawing classes, principally with Lemuel Everett Wilmarth....

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Thomas Pollock Anshutz. Bronze bas relief, 1912-1916, by Adam Pietz. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Anthony, Harold Elmer (05 April 1890–29 March 1970), mammalogist, museum curator, and author, was born in Beaverton, Oregon, the son of Alfred Webster Anthony and Anabel Klink. His father, a mining engineer and amateur ornithologist and collector, encouraged the boy’s interests in natural history. Anthony was an avid hunter, as were other lads in his community, but he early evinced an interest in preserving small mammal and bird skins for further study. Educated in the local public schools of Portland, Oregon, Anthony attended Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, for one year (1910–1911)....

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Barbour, Thomas (19 August 1884–08 January 1946), naturalist and museum director, was born on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the son of William Barbour and Julia Adelaide Sprague. The Barbours lived in New York City, but William Barbour, an international businessman dealing primarily in linen thread manufacture, often traveled, sometimes accompanied by his family. Thus, by the time he was eight, Thomas Barbour had visited various natural history museums in Europe. Also in his youth he began to collect reptiles and amphibians, both in the Adirondack Mountains during the summers and one winter at his grandmother’s house in Florida. In New York Barbour spent a lot of time at the Bronx Park Zoo as it was being developed in the late 1890s; there he begged zoo officials to let him have deceased reptiles for his collection. After a visit to the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University when he was fifteen, Barbour decided that he would someday become director of that facility....

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Barnum, P. T. (05 July 1810–07 April 1891), showman, was born Phineas Taylor Barnum in Bethel, Connecticut, the son of Philo F. Barnum, a farmer and storekeeper, and Irena Taylor. While attending public school in Bethel, Barnum peddled candy and gingerbread. He later wrote that he had always been interested in arithmetic and money....

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Barr, Alfred Hamilton, Jr. (28 January 1902–15 August 1981), museum official and art historian, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Alfred Hamilton Barr, Sr., a Presbyterian minister, and Annie Elizabeth Wilson. Barr attended Princeton University, receiving a B.A. in art history in 1922 and an M.A. in the same subject in 1923. The teachers at Princeton who made the most lasting impression on him were ...

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Baur, John I. H. (09 August 1909–15 May 1987), museum director, curator, and art scholar, was born John Ireland Howe Baur in Woodbridge, Connecticut, the son of Paul V. C. Baur, a Yale University professor of archaeology, and Susan Whiting. Jack Baur, as he was known, attended Yale, graduating in 1932 with a degree in English. He had difficulty finding teaching jobs because of the depression, and he was lured back to Yale by an art history scholarship, although he had little background in the subject. Baur studied under Henri Focillon, the author of ...

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Becker, Marion Rombauer (02 January 1903–28 December 1976), cookbook writer, arts administrator, and conservationist, was born Marion Julia Rombauer in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Edgar Roderick Rombauer, a lawyer, and Irma Louise von Starkloff, a cookbook writer. Her outlook and interests were strongly shaped by a freethinking, reform-minded family. She studied art history and French at Vassar College and spent her junior year at Washington University in St. Louis, receiving a B.A. from Vassar in 1925. Hoping to find a career in modern dance or art education, she began teaching in 1929 in the art department of John Burroughs School, an experimental school in Clayton, Missouri....

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Belknap, Waldron Phoenix (12 May 1899–14 December 1949), art historian, was born in New York City, the son of Waldron Phoenix Belknap, a banker, and Rey Hutchings. Both of his parents were descended from early colonial settlers, and Belknap’s awareness and appreciation of his own family’s history, nurtured by his parents, developed into a deep and lasting interest in American history and material culture. He graduated magna cum laude from St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1916 and was admitted to Harvard that same year; he interrupted his studies to join the army shortly after the United States entered World War I. He graduated from the heavy artillery school at Fort Monroe, Virginia, in 1918 with a commission as a second lieutenant, returning to Harvard at war’s end. He still was able to graduate with his class in 1920, and he then spent eight years in investment finance, working in New York, Boston, and London....

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Benson, Eugene (01 November 1839–28 February 1908), art critic, painter, and essayist, was born in Hyde Park, New York, the son of Benjamin Benson. His mother’s name is not known. He went to New York City in 1856 to study painting at the National Academy of Design; he also learned portraiture in the studio of J. H. Wright. Taking up residence at the New York University Building, he formed close friendships with several other artists who lived there, most notably ...

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Berenson, Bernard (26 June 1865–06 October 1959), art historian, was born Bernhard Valvrojenski in Butrimonys, Lithuania, the son of Alter (later Albert) Valvrojenski and Eudice (later Julia) Mickleshanski (or Michliszanski). Many different spellings of his hometown have been recorded, including Biturmansk, Butrymanz, and Butremancz. After immigrating to Boston in 1875, the family changed their surname to Berenson. Berenson completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University in 1887 with honorable mention in Semitic languages and English composition....

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Bickmore, Albert Smith (01 March 1839–12 August 1914), educator and museum director, was born in Tenant’s Harbor, St. George, Maine, the son of John Bickmore, a sea captain and shipbuilder, and Jane Seavey. Bickmore’s passion for natural history began during childhood, when he was an avid collector of shells, birds, and insects, and his enthusiasm for travel was ignited by a sailing trip with his father to Bordeaux. Following preparatory education at New London Academy in New Hampshire, Bickmore graduated from Dartmouth in 1860 with an A.B. He then enrolled in the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard to study under the renowned zoologist ...

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Brown, Glenn (13 September 1854–22 April 1932), architect, was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of Bedford Brown II, a physician, and Mary E. Simpson. Between 1871 and 1873 Brown attended Washington and Lee University, receiving a traditional education in the classics, and at age nineteen returned to Alexandria to become his father’s apprentice in preparation for a career in medicine. Brown soon thereafter discovered an aptitude for design, however, and attended the architecture school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston from 1875 to 1876. While in Boston, he found employment with the contracting firm of Norcross Brothers, builders of much of master architect ...

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Caffin, Charles Henry (04 June 1854–15 January 1918), art critic and author, was born in Sittingbourne, Kent, England, the son of the Reverend Charles Smart Caffin, a Church of England minister, and Harriet (maiden name unknown). Both parents were talented amateur artists. In 1873 Caffin received a scholarship to attend Pembroke College at Oxford University, where he received his B.A. in 1877. Following graduation, he worked as a teacher for several years before joining an itinerant theater troupe, Ben Greet and His Shakespearean Players, as an actor and stage manager. In 1888 he married fellow player Caroline Scurfield; they had two daughters. Caffin and his family immigrated to the United States in 1892. He first worked in the decorations department of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which led to his next job making cartoons for mural paintings in the new Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. His first essay on art and architecture was published in Herbert Small’s ...

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Cahill, Holger (13 January 1887–08 July 1960), author and curator, was born Sveinn Kristjan Bjarnarson, in Snifellsnessyslu, Iceland, the son of Björn Bjarnarson, a laborer, and Vigdis Bjarnadóttir. Cahill, however, later claimed he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1893. In the 1890s the Bjarnarsons emigrated to North Dakota, where they hoped to obtain land. Unable to purchase property, Björn worked as a hired hand. Vigdis, whom Cahill later described as a stern “peasant woman” with a poetic streak, and Björn, “a failure in almost everything he did,” quarreled frequently, separating when Cahill was eleven. Struggling to support her son and his younger sister after Björn departed, Vigdis sent the boy to live with an Icelandic family on a nearby farm. After the family removed him from school, put him to work in the fields, and pressured him to be confirmed in the Lutheran church, he ran away. Settled with another family, Cahill finished high school and then set off for Canada, where he worked as a farm laborer and cowherder. By 1907 he was back in the United States, holding a job as a railroad clerk in St. Paul. While there, he later recalled that he read “Tolstoi by the acre” and took a correspondence course in journalism. This was followed by short stints as a watchman on a Great Lakes steamer and as an insurance salesman in Cleveland....

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Carles, Arthur B. (09 March 1882–18 June 1952), modernist painter and teacher, was born Arthur Beecher Carles, Jr., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Arthur Beecher Carles, a designer of watch covers and an amateur painter, and Janet Buchanan. His parents supported his artistic aspirations and those of his younger sister Sara, who also became a painter....