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Bowers, Fredson (25 April 1905–11 April 1991), literary scholar, editor, and educator, was born Fredson Thayer Bowers in New Haven, Connecticut, the only child of Fredson Eugene Bowers, an executive of an automotive-parts manufacturing company, and Hattie May Quigley Bowers. He was educated at New Haven General High School (1917–1921), Brown University (Phi Beta Kappa, 1924; Ph.B., 1925), and Harvard (Ph.D., 1934), and during the next four years he taught as instructor in English at Harvard (1934–1936) and Princeton (1936–1938). During these years his marriage (1924–1936) to Hyacinth Adeline Sutphen, of a socially prominent New York family, produced four children but ended in divorce; it was also in his Harvard period that his interest in dogs was at its height, for he was then active as a breeder and judge of Irish wolfhounds, writing columns for the ...

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Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth (23 September 1848–04 October 1895), author and educator, was born in Fredriksvaern, Norway, the son of Sarolf Boyesen, a mathematics instructor in the naval academy there, and Hanna (or Helga) Tveten Hjorth, the foster daughter of Judge Hjorth of Systrand. In 1854 Sarolf Boyesen, out of favor because he had joined the Swedenborgian church, sent his family to Judge Hjorth and entered the American army, for a period of two years. Hjalmar Boyesen loved the natural setting of Systrand, relished the servants’ folktales there, was sad when he was sent away to school, and found consolation in reading and writing. He attended Latin school at Drammen and Gymnasium at Christiania and graduated from the Royal Fredriks University in 1868—adept in several languages. He obtained family permission to go to the United States, which his father had extolled as the land of freedom and opportunity....

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Brooks, Cleanth (16 October 1906–10 May 1994), teacher, critic, and scholar, was born in Murray, Kentucky, the son of Cleanth Brooks, Sr., an Episcopalian minister, and Bessie Lee Witherspoon. The family soon moved to Tennessee where his father served a number of parishes near Memphis. Despite their peripatetic lifestyle, Cleanth’s parents helped their shy, precocious son to find the stability that he needed by encouraging in him a devotion to the great literature of the world. Eventually, Cleanth attended the Mc Tyeire School, where, in addition to the standard academic fare of the era, he learned Greek and Latin and continued the education in classical literature that had begun at age five with his father’s present of a collections of tales from the ...

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Canby, Henry Seidel (06 September 1878–05 April 1961), educator, author, and editor, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Edward Tatnell Canby, a founder and president of the Delaware Trust Company, and Ella Augusta Seidel. Though reared in an Episcopalian family, Canby attended Quaker schools and then entered Yale, where he edited two undergraduate literary papers and earned his Ph.B. in 1899. While studying for his Ph.D. in English literature (1905) and afterward, he taught at Yale (1900–1916). He was the first professor at Yale to offer courses in American literature. Early in his career, he championed the work of ...

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Child, Francis James (01 February 1825–11 September 1896), philologist and editor, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Child, a sailmaker, and Mary James. After attending the Boston Latin School, he matriculated at Harvard College; he ranked first in his class and was elected class orator. Following his graduation in 1846, he became a tutor in mathematics at his alma mater and then, in 1848, in history and political economy. Also in 1848 he published his edition of ...

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Christian, Barbara (12 December 1943–25 July 2000), pioneering scholar in black feminist literary criticism, was born Barbara Theresa Christian in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, one of six children of Ruth Christian and Judge Alphonso A. Christian. A precocious scholar from a young age, Christian graduated as high school valedictorian from Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in St. Thomas at the age of fifteen. She matriculated to Marquette University, a Jesuit Catholic university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she earned a B.A. cum laude in 1963. She planned to become a medical doctor and declared a major in chemistry but changed course during her sophomore year when she discovered T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland.” Christian pursued her doctorate at Columbia University in New York City, in part because of its close proximity to Harlem. She studied contemporary British and American literature, obtaining an M.A. in 1964 and a Ph.D. with distinction in 1970. Her dissertation, “Spirit Bloom in Harlem. The Search for a Black Aesthetic during the Harlem Renaissance: The Poetry of Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, and Jean Toomer,” foreshadowed Christian’s lifelong commitment to illuminating and promoting the rich African American literary canon....

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Cross, Wilbur Lucius (10 April 1862–05 October 1948), scholar and governor of Connecticut, was born in Gurleyville, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Cross, a farmer, miller, and manufacturer, and Harriet Maria Gurley. With considerable accuracy, Cross dubbed himself a “Connecticut Yankee.” His family had lived in the state for more than two hundred years. From early on, he embraced the political faith of his father and by age eight had proudly proclaimed to a local politician in Gurleyville, “I am a Democrat” (Cross, p. 35)....

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De Leon, Thomas Cooper (21 May 1839–19 March 1914), Alabama's first professional man of letters, Alabama’s first professional man of letters, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, the son of Mardici Heinrich De Leon and Rebecca Lopez-y-Nunez. His ancestors emigrated from Spain to the Spanish West Indies and then settled in the colonies before the American Revolution. De Leon’s father was a distinguished physician and an ardent admirer of the former president of South Carolina College, Thomas Cooper, for whom young De Leon was named. He began his formal education at Fort Prevel, Maine, and then attended Rugby Academy in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Georgetown College in 1858 with a degree in engineering. His first inclination, however, was toward the world of letters. In college he formed a lifelong friendship with ...

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de Man, Paul (06 December 1919–21 December 1983), literary theoretician and critic, was born in Antwerp, Belgium, the son of Robert de Man, a prosperous manufacturer of X-ray equipment, and Magdalena de Brey de Man. Young Paul enjoyed a comfortable upper-middle-class upbringing. After local schooling, Paul de Man enrolled at the University of Brussels in 1939 as a chemistry student. He pursued his studies over the next three years as World War II raged in Europe and Belgium came under German occupation. During this time, according to the biography he made available later in his career, he also pursued an interest in literature by writing reviews and articles for unspecified French and Flemish publications....

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Dupee, F. W. (25 June 1904–19 January 1979), literary critic and scholar, was born Frederick Wilcox Dupee in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Leroy Church Dupee, a businessman, and Frances Wilcox. After one semester at the University of Illinois in 1922 and a longer stint at the University of Chicago in 1923–1924, Dupee enrolled at Yale University, his father’s college, where he received a Ph.B. degree in 1927. He later attributed his literary commitment at least in part to undergraduate conversations and reading in Yale’s Elizabethan Club with friends including ...

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Dykes, Eva Beatrice (13 August 1893–29 October 1986), scholar and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of James Stanley Dykes and Martha Ann Howard. Eva Dykes graduated from M. Street High (later Paul Laurence Dunbar High School) in 1910. As valedictorian of her class, she won from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority a $10 scholarship to attend Howard University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English in 1914. After a year of teaching Latin and English at the now defunct Walden University in Nashville, Tennessee, and for another year elsewhere, she was urged by James Howard, a physician and uncle on her mother’s side, to enter Radcliffe College in 1916. Subsequently, she earned a second B.A. in English, magna cum laude, in 1917. Elected Phi Beta Kappa, she received an M.A. in English in 1918 and a Ph.D. in English philology in 1921. Her dissertation was titled “Pope and His Influence in America from 1715 to 1850.”...

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Leon Edel With a picture of Henry James in the background. Photograph by the Associated Press, c. 1963. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Edel, Leon (09 September 1907–05 September 1997), biographer, theorist of biographical literature, and literary historian, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Simon Edel and Fannie Malamud Edel. His family moved to Saskatchewan, Canada when he was about two years old and he remained in Canada for his college education, receiving his B.A. in 1927 from McGill University in Montreal, and continued there for the start of his graduate studies, obtaining an M.A. in 1928 with honors, having written a thesis on the writer ...

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Folger, Emily Jordan (15 May 1858–21 February 1936), student and collector of Shakespeareana, was born in Ironton, Ohio, the daughter of Augusta Woodbury Ricker and Edward Jordan, a newspaper editor, lawyer, and solicitor of the U.S. Treasury under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson...

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Follett, Wilson (21 March 1887–07 January 1963), author and editor, was born Roy Wilson Follett in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, the son of Charles William Follett, a worker in a jewelry-manufacturing shop, and Cordelia Adelaide White Follett, a former teacher. After attending public schools in North Attleboro, he was an exemplary student at Harvard College, earning his B.A. in 1909, with a major in English and valuable study under ...

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Furness, Horace Howard (02 November 1833–13 August 1912), Shakespearean scholar and man of letters, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of the Reverend William Henry Furness, a Unitarian clergyman, and Annis Pulling Jenks. His early love of Shakespeare was stimulated by actress ...

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Giamatti, Bart (04 April 1938–01 September 1989), scholar, college president, and baseball executive, was born Angelo Bartlett Giamatti in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Valentine Giamatti, a professor of Romance languages at Mount Holyoke College, and Mary Claybaugh Walton. Raised in South Hadley, Giamatti acquired a love for both books and baseball from his father. Much better at academics than athletics, he graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and Yale University, where he received a B.A. in English magna cum laude in 1960 and, as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature in 1964. In 1960 he had married Toni Smith, with whom he had three children....

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Greenlaw, Edwin Almiron (06 April 1874–10 September 1931), Renaissance scholar and educator, was born in Flora, Illinois, the son of Thomas Brewer Greenlaw, educator and newspaper publisher, and Emma Julia Leverich. At age twelve he entered Chester High School and quickly became its top student, graduating two years later. He studied at Chester High School for an additional year after graduation, then taught classes in telegraphy, shorthand, literature, and business at Orchard City College. He entered Illinois College in 1893 but interrupted his education after a year to accept the presidency of Orchard City College. After serving two years at Orchard, he entered Northwestern University in February 1896, graduating with an A.B. in history in 1897 and an M.A. in history in 1898. In September 1898 he married Mary Elizabeth Durland; they had three children....

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Guiney, Louise Imogen (07 January 1861–02 November 1920), poet and scholar, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Patrick Robert Guiney, a lawyer and Union brigadier general in the Civil War, and Janet M. Doyle. She studied at the Jesuit Elmhurst Convent of the Sacred Heart in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1877, two years before she graduated, her father died from an old war wound; the martial and chivalric strains in her poetry have been attributed to his influence....

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Hart, James D. (18 April 1911–23 July 1990), author, editor and college and library administrator, was born James David Hart in San Francisco, California, the son of Julien Hart, the owner of a silk company, and Helen Neustadter. He grew up in San Francisco, where his mother died when he was ten. He received his degrees in English: an A.B. from Stanford University in 1932, and an M.A. (1933) and Ph.D. (1936) from Harvard University. Before moving back to his native state, Hart taught at Amherst College in Massachusetts for one semester. He then became an instructor of English at the University of California at Berkeley from 1936 to 1941; he later became assistant professor (1941–1947), associate professor (1947–1951), and finally professor, a position he held for thirty-nine years. Hart served as department chairman twice, from 1955 to 1957 and 1965 to 1969 and as vice chancellor of the university from 1957 to 1960....