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Arnold, Eve (21 April 1912–04 January 2012), photojournalist, was born Eve Cohen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the seventh of nine children of the Ukrainian Jewish immigrants Vevel (William) Sklarski, a rabbi, and Bosya (Bessie) Laschiner. Although Eve’s parents were poor she received a good basic education. Eve first considered a career as a writer or a dancer, then settled on medicine, but she gave this up to move to New York City. During World War II she got a job at America’s first automated photographic film processing plant in Hoboken, New Jersey, although she knew little about photography then. It was only in 1946 when her then boyfriend gave her a forty-dollar Rolleicord camera that she took up photography as a hobby. The boyfriend did not last long, but her love of photography grew into a highly successful and fulfilling career....

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Stephen G. Marshall

Capra, Frank (18 May 1897–03 September 1991), filmmaker, was born in Bisacquino, Sicily, the son of Salvatore Capra and Rosaria Nicolosi, farmers. The family immigrated to the United States, settling on a farm outside Los Angeles, when Capra was six years old. Capra was the only of his parents’ fourteen children to attend college; he obtained a scholarship and graduated from Throop College of Technology (later California Institute of Technology) in 1918 with a degree in chemical engineering....

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Chapin, Harry Forster (07 December 1942–16 July 1981), popular singer and writer of topical songs, was born in New York City, the son of James Forbes Chapin, a big-band percussionist, and Elspeth Burke. As a high school student, Chapin sang in the Brooklyn Heights Boys Choir and, later, played guitar, banjo, and trumpet in a band that included his father and brothers Stephen Chapin and Tom Chapin. He attended the U.S. Air Force Academy briefly and studied at Cornell University from 1960 to 1964. Chapin was best known for his popular ballads, films, and cultural and humanitarian work for the cause of eradicating world hunger. He married Sandra Campbell Gaston in 1968; they had five children....

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de Rochemont, Louis (13 January 1899–23 December 1978), film producer, was born Louis Clark de Rochemont in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the son of Louis L. G. de Rochemont, an attorney, and Sarah Wilson Miller. As a boy of twelve, de Rochemont made his own film camera with the help of a local machine shop and used it to film “newsreels” in neighboring towns, which he then sold to local movie houses to show. De Rochemont attended the Naval Aviation School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Naval Cadet School of Harvard University. He served for a year with British Military Intelligence through a program of the U.S. Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1917, reaching the rank of lieutenant by the time he resigned in 1923. He remained in the naval reserve for another ten years. While he served in the navy, de Rochemont’s interest in film continued. During his tour of duty abroad, he independently filmed the 1922 opening of King Tutankamen’s tomb and, in the same year, Kemal Ataturk’s capture of Smyrna, which led to the foundation of the Turkish Republic....

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Ditmars, Raymond Lee (22 June 1876–12 May 1942), zoo curator and popular writer on reptiles, was born in Newark, New Jersey, son of John Van Harlingen Ditmars, a furniture dealer and Confederate veteran, and Mary Knaus. When Raymond was six the family moved to New York City. His interest in nature began with visits to Central Park, which had a small menagerie and natural areas teeming with snakes and other creatures, and to the salt marshes on the outskirts of Brooklyn, where his family spent the summer. These experiences captivated his interest, and, although his family intended for him to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, his mind was on snakes....

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Flaherty, Robert Joseph (16 February 1884–23 July 1951), filmmaker, was born in Iron Mountain, Michigan, the son of mining authority Robert Henry Flaherty and Susan Klöckner. After sporadic early education in Minnesota, Michigan, and Ontario, followed by an unsuccessful period at Upper Canada College in Toronto, Canada, in 1898, Flaherty attended the Michigan College of Mines in 1902. There he met the daughter of mineralogist and geologist Lucius L. Hubbard, Frances Hubbard, whom he married in 1914. The couple had three children....

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Ford, John (01 February 1895–31 August 1973), motion picture director, was born Sean Aloysius O’Fearna in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, the son of Sean O’Fearna, a seaman and saloon keeper, and Barbara “Abbey” Curran. Both parents had emigrated to the United States from Galway, Ireland, and later changed their family name to O’Feeney....

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Hays, Lee Elhardt (14 March 1914–26 August 1981), songwriter, singer, and political activist, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of the Reverend William Benjamin Hays, a Methodist minister, and Ellen Reinhardt, a court reporter. The youngest of four children, Lee Hays left home at age fourteen for Emory Junior College Academy in Oxford, Georgia, a Methodist prep school from which he graduated in 1930. He had hoped to take a bachelor’s degree, but during the depression none of his family members could help with tuition....

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Johnson, Osa (14 March 1894–07 January 1953), author, lecturer, and film producer, was born Osa Helen Leighty in Chanute, Kansas, the daughter of William Sherman Leighty, a railroad engineer, and Ruby Isabel Holman. In 1910 she left high school to marry Martin Johnson, whom she had met eleven years earlier when he visited Chanute as an eighteen-year-old itinerant photographer. In the meantime he had visited Europe alone and traveled with ...

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Kees, Weldon (24 February 1914–18 July 1955?), poet, was born Harry Weldon Kees in Beatrice, Nebraska, the son of John Kees, the owner of a relatively prosperous hardware manufacturing business, and Sarah Green. Weldon (he never used his first name) attended Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, the University of Missouri, and the University of Nebraska, where in 1935 he received a B.A. in English. In 1939 he received a B.A. in library science from the University of Denver....

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Larsen, Roy Edward (20 April 1899–09 September 1979), publisher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Larsen, a newspaperman, and Stella Belyea. Larsen was proud to proclaim himself a “first generation American,” for his father and mother had come to this country from Norway and Ireland, respectively. Larsen graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1917 and entered Harvard College. Drafted into the U.S. Army in his freshman year, Larsen served as a second lieutenant in the infantry. After the armistice, he returned to Harvard. Following his graduation in 1921, Larsen went to work for the New York Trust Company....

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Lorentz, Pare (11 December 1905–04 March 1992), documentary filmmaker, was born Leonard MacTaggart Lorentz in Clarksburg, West Virginia, the son of Alma MacTaggart Ruttencutter and Pare Hanson Lorentz, a printer. After studying at West Virginia Wesleyan College and the University of West Virginia, Lorentz moved to New York City in 1924, where he found employment as editor for the ...

Article

Maysles, David Carl (10 January 1932–03 January 1987), documentary filmmaker, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Philip Maysles, a postal clerk, and Ethel Epstein, a grammar school teacher. Maysles spent his childhood in Dorchester, a working-class, predominantly Irish-Catholic Boston neighborhood. Both his parents had immigrated to the United States from Russia as young children and were devoted to American ideals of upward mobility. His mother had been one of the “Saturday Evening Girls,” a group of immigrant children given a classical education in the arts, sponsored by a Boston philanthropist. Ethel Maysles’s devotion to the arts exerted a lifelong influence on her two sons and a daughter. In 1939 the Maysles family moved to Brookline, a middle-class Boston suburb, where Ethel Maysles became the first Jewish teacher in the community’s public schools....

Article

Virginia Yans-McLaughlin

Mead, Margaret (16 December 1901–15 November 1978), anthropologist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Edward Sherwood Mead, a University of Pennsylvania economist, and Emily Fogg, a sociologist and social reformer. Mead’s unconventional education provided her with the tools and social attitudes that governed her later career. Before high school, her paternal grandmother, Martha Ramsey Mead, a schoolteacher well versed in progressive educational theory of the day, and her mother, a social scientist, directed her education at home. Young Margaret’s education included collecting data for observation and recording; anything from the structure of leaves to the language patterns and personality differences of her younger siblings could be noted as data. Before Margaret Mead reached her teens, she accompanied her mother on field trips to Hammonton, New Jersey, where Emily Mead was engaged in sociological research among Italian immigrants. The mother—a feminist, suffragist, leader in the cooperative household movement, and staunch opponent of nativist and racist attitudes—made it a point to expose her child to other ethnic groups and to instill in her awareness of and respect for human equality and differences. Margaret Mead’s M.A. thesis in psychology, in which she argued that linguistic and cultural differences explained lower intelligence-test scores of Italian immigrant children, grew from these early training experiences with her mother....

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Margaret Mead. Gelatin silver print, c. 1928-29, by Unidentified Artist. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Van Dyke, Willard (05 December 1906–23 January 1986), documentary filmmaker, was born Willard Ames Van Dyke in Denver, Colorado, the son of Louis Van Dyke and Pearl Ames. He first became interested in film as a boy when he worked as an extra on the silent version of ...