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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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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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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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Hubbell, Jay Broadus (08 May 1885–13 February 1979), university teacher and literary historian, was born in Smyth County, Virginia, the son of David Shelton Hubbell, a Baptist minister, and Ruth Eller. He was educated at Richmond College (B.A., 1905), Harvard University (M.A., 1908), and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1922), teaching in the meantime at the University of North Carolina (1908–1909), Wake Forest College (1911–1914), and Southern Methodist University (1915–1927), with time out for service in World War I as a first lieutenant in the field artillery (1918–1919). In 1918 he married Lucinda Smith of Dallas, Texas, one of his students at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and the daughter of a well-known attorney. The couple had two sons, Jay Broadus Hubbell, Jr., who frequently served as his father’s research assistant, and David Smith Hubbell, a physician. After his return from the war, Hubbell became chair of the Department of English and E. A. Lilly Professor of English at SMU and edited the ...

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Matthiessen, F. O. (19 February 1902–01 April 1950), educator, literary critic, and scholar, was born Francis Otto Matthiessen in Pasadena, California, the son of Frederic William Matthiessen, Jr., and Lucy Orne Pratt. Matthiessen’s grandfather had emigrated from Germany to La Salle, Illinois, founded the Western Clock Corporation (later the Westclox Corporation), and died in 1918, leaving an estate of approximately $10 million. Matthiessen’s father was spoiled as a youth and unsettled as an adult, became a spendthrift and a philanderer, deserted his wife and their four children in 1907, and was divorced in 1915. Matthiessen’s mother lived with her children during some of these years in her father-in-law’s La Salle home....

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Pattee, Fred Lewis (22 March 1863–06 May 1950), educator and author, was born on Pattee Hill, his paternal grandfather’s farm near Bristol, New Hampshire, the son of Lewis Franklin Pattee, a farmer, and Mary Philbrick Ingalls, a former mill worker. He attended public schools in Bristol and nearby South Alexandria. From May to October 1879 Pattee worked for a Bristol lawyer who had a sizable library where he read many books. He worked as a printer’s devil for a Bristol weekly until 1882, then studied at New Hampton Institution, a few miles outside Bristol, graduating in 1883. He worked on Block Island, Rhode Island, as a printer and waiter until 1884 and then entered Dartmouth College. He helped finance his education by teaching part-time in Candia, New Hampshire, and Bowdoinham, Maine. During his senior year he edited the ...

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Pottle, Frederick Albert (03 August 1897–16 May 1987), literary scholar, author, and academician, was born in Center Lovell, Maine, the son of Fred Leroy Pottle and Annette Kemp. Raised on a farm in Otisfield, Maine, Pottle received his primary education in an ungraded one-room schoolhouse. He attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where he fell under the spell of literature, notably the work of the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Graduating in 1917, Pottle volunteered during World War I as a surgical assistant with an evacuation hospital unit and served in France and Germany....

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Reed, Henry Hope (11 July 1808–27 September 1854), lawyer, educator, and litterateur, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Joseph Reed and Maria Ellis Watmough. His father was a lawyer, and his brother, William Bradford Reed, was to become a distinguished lawyer, politician, and statesman. In 1823, at age fifteen, Henry Reed entered the sophomore class at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with honors in 1825 and was the Latin salutatorian. He studied law with his uncle ...

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John R. Thelin and Sharon Thelin-Blackburn

Smith, Charles Alphonso (28 May 1864–13 June 1924), professor of English and author, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of J. Henry Smith, a pastor of the Presbyterian church, and his second wife, Mary Kelly Watson. A boyhood friend of William Sydney Porter...

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Ticknor, George (01 August 1791–26 January 1871), educator and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Elisha Ticknor, a former teacher who later became a wealthy merchant, and Elizabeth Billings, a former teacher. Ticknor was so well tutored by his parents that the president of Dartmouth College, his father’s alma mater, examined him at age ten in Latin and Greek and certified him for admission. He continued to study French, Greek, Latin, and Spanish at home. After passing two examinations for advanced status, he entered Dartmouth as a junior in 1805 and graduated in 1807. He was tutored in Greek and Latin by Dr. John Gardiner, rector of Trinity Church in Boston, until 1810. For three years he read law in the office of William Sullivan, son of the late governor of Massachusetts ...

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Wimsatt, W. K. (17 November 1907–17 December 1975), literary scholar, was born William Kurtz Wimsatt, Jr., in Washington, D.C., the son of William Kurtz Wimsatt, a lumber dealer, and Bertha Stuart McSherry. He earned both B.A. (summa cum laude, 1928) and A.M. (1929) degrees at Georgetown University. From 1930 until 1935 he taught English and was department head at the Priory School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. After a year of studying and teaching at Catholic University of America, he enrolled in graduate school at Yale in 1936 and received his Ph.D. in 1939. That same year he began teaching at Yale and continued there until his death. In September 1944 he married Margaret Elizabeth Hecht; they had two sons....

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Woodberry, George Edward (12 May 1855–02 January 1930), man of letters and teacher, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, the son of Henry Elliott Woodberry, a shipmaster, and Sarah Dane Tuck. His first American ancestor was William Woodberry, who came to Salem, Massachusetts, from Somersetshire, England, in 1628 and was one of the founders of Beverly. Educated at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, Woodberry entered Harvard College and graduated in 1877 with highest honors in philosophy. He wrote that ...