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Farabee, William Curtis (07 February 1865–24 June 1925), anthropologist and explorer, was born near Sparta in Morris township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Farabee and Susannah Henkins (occupations unknown). He attended public school and studied at the California State Normal School from 1885 to 1887 before graduating from Waynesburg College in 1894. He was then a teacher and public school principal for five years. In 1897 he married Sylvia Manilla Holdren; they had no children. He obtained an M.A. in anthropology from Harvard University in 1900, followed by a Ph.D. in 1903. From 1903 to 1912 he taught anthropology at Harvard....

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McNickle, D’Arcy (18 January 1904–15 October 1977), author, government official, and anthropologist, was born William D’Arcy McNickle at St. Ignatius, Montana, on the Flathead Indian reservation, the youngest child of William McNickle and Philomene Parenteau, farmers. D’Arcy McNickle’s maternal grandparents, Isidore Parenteau and Judith Plante, were members of the Canadian Metis community, which traced its heritage to French, Chippewa, and Cree ancestors. They had fled from Saskatchewan to Montana following their participation in the Metis rebellion in 1885. McNickle’s father, the son of Irish immigrants, had come from Pittsburgh to Montana to work on the Northern Pacific Railroad....

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John Wesley Powell. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-20230).

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Powell, John Wesley (24 March 1834–23 September 1902), explorer, geologist, and anthropologist, was born in Mount Morris, New York, the son of Joseph Powell, a tailor and Methodist Episcopal licensed exhorter, and Mary Dean. Powell’s parents, who were emigrants from England, moved the family successively west and finally settled in Wheaton, Illinois. Young Powell’s education was intermittent but included some course work at Wheaton and Oberlin Colleges. He worked on the family farm and taught school, but his real interests lay in all phases of natural history and in archaeology. He made numerous collections of natural objects, often by traveling overland or alone in a boat along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He became well known among amateur natural historians and was elected secretary of the Illinois Society of Natural History in March 1861....

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe (28 March 1793–10 December 1864), author, ethnologist, and Indian agent, was born on a farmstead on Black Creek, near Albany, New York, the son of Lawrence Schoolcraft, a farmer and glass manufacturer, and Margaret Anne Barbara Rowe. He attended school and received tutoring in Latin in Hamilton, New York, where his father served as justice of the peace. After the family moved to Vernon, New York, in 1808, he held responsible positions in the construction and management of glass factories in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, often in business with his father. Although for a time he had the stimulating intellectual influence of an older mentor, a professor at Middlebury College, Vermont, Schoolcraft never attended classes. He acquired a library of scientific books and performed experiments in chemistry and mineralogy. Despite his recognized competence, he achieved only temporary success in glass manufacturing....

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Henry Rowe Schoolcraft. Engraving, second half of nineteenth century. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109383).

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Stevenson, Matilda Coxe Evans (12 May 1849–24 June 1915), ethnologist, geologist, and explorer, was born in San Augustine, Texas, the daughter of Alexander Hamilton Evans, a lawyer, writer, and journalist from Virginia, and Maria Coxe of New Jersey. Stevenson grew up in a privileged, middle-class household in Washington, D.C. Following her education in a girl’s finishing school and seminary, she defied convention and studied law as well as served an apprenticeship in chemistry and geology at the Army Medical School. Even though there were no opportunities for college or advanced degrees or employment in the sciences for women at the time, Stevenson decided to become a mineralogist and geological explorer. She was able to pursue these goals through her marriage, in 1872, to geologist and naturalist Colonel ...