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Gordin, Jacob (01 May 1853–11 June 1909), playwright and teacher, was born in Mirgorod, Ukraine, the son of Yekhiel Mikhel Ha-Levi Gordin, a prosperous merchant, and Ida (maiden name unknown). Gordin received both a secular education and a grounding in traditional Jewish studies. Most of his early jobs were as a Russian-language journalist, at which he made a name for himself for his vignettes of Jewish life. He may also have worked in the Russian theater. He married Anna Itskowitz in 1872; they had eleven children....

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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....