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Appleton, William Sumner (29 May 1874–24 November 1947), preservationist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Sumner Appleton, a numismatist and genealogist, and Edith Stuart Appleton (Appleton was both her maiden and married name). Appleton grew up in the materially and culturally privileged world of Boston’s Beacon Hill. His family’s involvement in the formation of several historical and cultural organizations dedicated to preserving some aspect of their Puritan heritage influenced him. His grandfather, the industrialist and banker Nathan Appleton, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Massachusetts, was an organizer of the Boston Athenaeum. His father had no need to pursue any gainful employment and wrote many works on numismatics and genealogy. He was also a founder of the Bostonian Society, the Boston Numismatic Society, and the American Historical Society....

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du Pont, Henry Francis (27 May 1880–11 April 1969), art collector and horticulturist, was born in Winterthur, Delaware, the son of Henry Algernon du Pont, an army officer and U.S. senator, and Mary Pauline Foster. After taking an A.B. at Harvard College in 1903, the young du Pont spent a number of years traveling throughout the United States and Europe, the du Ponts’ financial success having released him from career obligations. In 1914, however, his father asked that he take over the day-to-day management of the dairy farming operation at “Winterthur Farms,” the family farm in rural Delaware. Under du Pont’s meticulous direction the farm developed a nationally famous and prize-winning herd of Holstein-Friesian cattle, specimens of which were consistently voted among the best of breed in the country, serving as the foundation for many other registered Holstein herds throughout the United States. The spectacular success of the cattle herd, in combination with du Pont’s unusual willingness to experiment with innovative new practices in soil conservation and crop production, allowed Winterthur Farms to develop a reputation as the model of a modern American dairy farm....

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Gill, Brendan (04 October 1914–27 December 1997), writer and preservationist, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Michael Gill, a physician, and Elizabeth Duffy Gill. (His parents did not give him a middle name, but he later took the middle name “Michael” in honor of his father.) Although his mother died when he was seven years old, he later recalled that he had a happy childhood in a prosperous Irish-Catholic household: “My father … had not the slightest idea what to do with us children, except to supply us with houses, servants, money, trips to Europe, extravagant gifts, admiration, and love” ( ...

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Meem, John Gaw (17 November 1894–04 August 1983), architect and preservationist, was born in Pelotas, Brazil, the son of John Gaw Meem III and Elsa Krishke, Episcopalian missionaries. From 1910 until 1914 Meem attended the Virginia Military Institute, graduating with a degree in civil engineering. He was an infantry captain in Iowa from 1917 until 1919. After World War I Meem worked as a banker in Brazil, but he had to return to the United States to be treated for tuberculosis. He was admitted as a patient at Sunmount Sanatorium near Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the spring of 1920. Although Santa Fe had a population of only 10,000 in 1920, there was a vocal group of people who wanted any growth in the area to occur within the architectural traditions of the native Pueblos and the Spanish settlers. Meem immediately was drawn into this circle in part because the founder and head of the sanatorium, Frank Mera, and several patients (like the painter Carlos Vierra) were advocates for preserving the distinctive character of Santa Fe....