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Beach, Harlan Page (04 April 1854–04 March 1933), missionary, missions librarian, and professor of missions, was born in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Joseph Wickliff Beach and Mary Angeline Walkley, farmers. He prepared for college at Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from Yale University in 1878. He taught at Phillips Andover Academy for two years, then entered Andover Theological Seminary, graduating (B.D.) in 1883. His father opposed his decision to be a missionary, but his mother encouraged him. He married Lucy Lucretia Ward on 29 June 1883 and was ordained to the Congregational ministry on 19 July 1883; later in the same year they were sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve in North China. After language study he was on the staff of a high school and theological seminary at Tung-chau until December 1889, when his wife’s ill health caused their return to the United States....

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Bellini, Carlo (1735– June 1804), librarian and teacher, was born in Florence, Italy, the son of Leone (or Leon) Girolamo Bellini, a tradesman. His mother’s name is not known, and details of his early life are sketchy. He taught in the Santa Maria School in Florence, frequented the best Florentine intellectual circles, and was a close friend of ...

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Burr, George Lincoln (30 January 1857–27 June 1938), librarian, historian, and educator, was born in Oramel, New York, the son of William Josiah Burr, a physician, and Jane Lincoln. Educated in the public schools of Newark Valley and the Cortland Academy, Burr worked as a printer to pay for his schooling. In 1877 he entered Cornell University, where he received his A.B. four years later. Upon graduation, thanks to the friendship shown by Cornell president ...

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Butler, Lee Pierce (19 December 1884–29 March 1953), professor and rare book curator, was born in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, the son of John Pierce Butler (a.k.a. Wallace due his desire to serve twice in the Civil War), a real estate agent, farm manager, and railroad employee, and Evaline (“Eva”) Content Whipple, an occasional U.S. postal mistress. Butler spent his early childhood on “Blythewood,” a 460-acre farm outside Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that was designed by F. L. Olmsted & Company and owned by Wirt D. Walker, a Chicago attorney. Infantile paralysis left Butler with scoliosis and a slight lameness, which was still apparent in his adult life; his early childhood was also marked by a serious case of scarlet fever and catarrh that left him almost completely deaf. He nevertheless earned a Ph.B. in 1906 and an M.A. in Latin in 1910 from Dickinson College. Butler taught science and mathematics briefly at Locust Dale Academy in Virginia during the fall of 1906. He started at Union Theological Seminary but then transferred to divinity school at Hartford Theological Seminary to study early medieval church history, and he received a B.D. in 1910 and a Ph.D. in 1912. After difficult pastorates as a deacon in the Episcopal church in Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as DeSoto and Ironton, Missouri, he moved back to his parents’ home in Clarendon Hills in late 1912....

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Davis, Raymond Cazallis (23 June 1836–10 June 1919), university librarian and pioneering teacher of bibliography, was born in Cushing, Maine, the son of George Davis, a sea captain, and Katherine (or Katharine) Young. From his early years he demonstrated an interest in reading and literature. A two-year journey with his father, 1849–1851, was to result in his only published book, ...

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Dexter, Franklin Bowditch (11 September 1842–13 August 1920), educator, librarian, and historian, was born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the son of Rodolphus Williams Dexter, a businessman, and Mary Hathaway Taber. He attended the Williston Seminary in preparation for Yale College, in New Haven, Connecticut, from which he graduated with an A.B. in 1861. He received an A.M. in 1864 and a Litt.D. in 1902. He taught Greek at the Collegiate and Commercial Institute in New Haven from 1861 to 1863 before returning to work at Yale....

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Flexner, Jennie Maas (06 November 1882–17 November 1944), librarian and adult educator, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Jacob Aaron Flexner, a physician, and Rosa Maas. Flexner was educated first in the public schools of Louisville and then through private study. She worked for several years as a legal secretary and then as an administrative secretary before accepting a position at the Louisville Public Library in 1905. Her keen mind, love of reading, and intellectual curiosity led William F. Yust, chief librarian, to endorse her unqualifiedly for professional study at the Library School of Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She entered the class of 1908, was elected president of her class, and had close contact with library leaders on the faculty. Fourteen years later Flexner accepted the office of president of the library school’s alumni association. Never married, Flexner was a dedicated career librarian typical of her generation....

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Galbreath, Charles Burleigh (25 February 1858–23 February 1934), librarian, historian, and teacher, was born on a farm in Columbiana County, Ohio, near the town of Leetonia, the son of Edward Paxson Galbreath and Jane Minerva Shaw. His parents were Quakers of Scotch-Irish heritage who moved to Ohio from North Carolina due to their antislavery stand. They instilled in their son an appreciation and interest in the antislavery cause that probably influenced his research on ...

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Hamlin, Talbot Faulkner (16 June 1889–07 October 1956), architect, professor, and librarian, was born in New York City, the son of Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin, a professor of architecture at Columbia University, and Minnie Florence Marston. He began his writing career at the age of twelve with a translation from the Latin of Pliny’s letter describing his Laurentine villa. He received a B.A. in classics and English at Amherst College (1910), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. From there he proceeded to Columbia School of Architecture, where he received a B.Arch. in 1914. That same year he began to work as a draughtsman in the New York architectural firm of Murphy and Dana. In 1916 he married Hilda B. Edwards; they had three sons. That year he published his first book, ...

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Hutchins, Margaret (21 September 1884–04 January 1961), librarian and professor, was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire, the daughter of Frank D. Hutchins, a flourishing attorney and banker, and Elizabeth Carleton. Hutchins graduated from Lancaster High School and Academy in 1902 and enrolled in Smith College that fall. A double major in Greek and philosophy, Hutchins was a member of the Literary Society and the Philosophical Club and could also read French, German, and Latin. Upon her graduation with a bachelor of arts degree in June 1906, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa....

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Plummer, Mary Wright (08 March 1856–21 September 1916), library educator and poet, was born in Richmond, Indiana, the daughter of Jonathan Wright Plummer, a businessman, and Hannah Bullard. She attended the Friends Academy, a Quaker school in Richmond, until 1873 when the family moved to Chicago, where her father was employed as a druggist. Except for a year spent at Wellesley College (1881–1882), she remained in Chicago with her family until 1887. In that year she left to attend the beginning class of the first library school in the United States, the School of Library Economy, organized by ...

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Root, Azariah Smith (03 February 1862–02 October 1927), librarian and professor of bibliography, was born in Middlefield, Massachusetts, the son of Solomon Francis Root, the proprietor of a general store, and Anna Smith. Root’s family traditions emphasized civic responsibility, Baptist and Congregational convictions, antislavery, higher education, and equal rights for men and women. These ideals influenced Root’s choice of Oberlin College, which had admitted African Americans as early as 1835 and had achieved a national reputation as the nation’s first coeducational college and a hotbed of abolitionist sentiment. Root earned an A.B. and an A.M. at Oberlin (1884, 1887), studied law at Boston University (1884–1885) and Harvard University (1886–1887), and studied analytical bibliography and the history of printing at the University of Göttingen (1898–1899). In 1887 he married a college classmate, Anna Mayo Metcalf; they had two children....

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Sharp, Katharine Lucinda (21 May 1865–01 June 1914), librarian and library educator, was born in Elgin, Illinois, the daughter of John William Sharp, a salesman and commission merchant, and Phebe Thompson. Sharp’s mother died when Katharine was seven years old, and she was raised by maternal relatives in Elgin, where she attended the progressive Elgin Academy, from which she graduated in 1880. In 1881, she matriculated at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, earning a bachelor of philosophy with honors in general, Latin, and special scholarship in 1885 and a master of philosophy in 1889. After receiving her Ph.B. from Northwestern, Sharp returned to the Elgin Academy as an instructor in Latin, French, and German from 1886 to 1888. In October 1888, she accepted her first library position as assistant librarian of the Scoville Institute, later to become the public library, in Oak Park, Illinois, where she stayed for two years until she enrolled at the New York State Library School, Albany, in the fall of 1890. She earned the bachelor and master of library science from the Albany school in 1892 and 1907, respectively....

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Shera, Jesse Hauk (08 December 1903–08 March 1982), librarian, educator, and author, was born in Oxford, Ohio, the son of Charles Hypes Shera, a dairyman, and Jesse Hauk. Shera grew up in Oxford, attending William McGuffey High School. He was a member of the debating team, as well as a drummer, a cheerleader, and the 1921 senior class president. Although he was interested in a career in chemistry, his poor eyesight prevented him from pursuing this interest. Remaining in Oxford, he graduated with honors from Miami University in 1925 with an A.B. in English. Shera earned tuition by selling typewriters from door to door and working at a local soda fountain. From Miami he went to Yale University, where he graduated in 1927 with a master’s degree in English literature....

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Spencer, Anne (06 February 1882–27 July 1975), poet, librarian, and teacher, was born Annie Bethel Scales Bannister in Henry County, near Danville, Virginia, the daughter of Joel Cephus Bannister, a former slave and saloon owner, and Sarah Louise Scales. The only child of divorced parents, at the age of eleven Annie was sent to Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, where she excelled in literature and languages. After graduating in 1899 she taught for two years, then in 1901 married fellow student Edward Spencer and lived the rest of her life in Lynchburg....

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Wood, Mary Elizabeth (22 August 1861–01 May 1931), library educator, was born in Elba, New York, the daughter of Edward Farmer Wood and Mary Jane Humphrey, farmers. Wood attended private and public schools, including the Batavia High School, but she acquired most of her knowledge through private reading and study. Between 1889 and 1899 Wood worked as the librarian of the Richmond Memorial Library, a public library in Batavia, New York....