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Filson, John (10 December 1753?–01 October 1788), author, historian, and land surveyor, was born in East Fallowfield Township near Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Davison Filson and Eleanor Clarke, farmers. After attending common schools in the vicinity of his birthplace, Filson studied Greek, Latin, mathematics, and surveying at West Nottingham Academy in Colora, Maryland. He inherited part of a modest estate following his father’s death in 1776, but, eschewing life on the farm, he taught school and surveyed lands in the area during the American Revolution....

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Moore, Charles (20 October 1855–25 September 1942), city planner, journalist, and historian, was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the son of Charles Moore, a merchant, and Adeline MacAllaster. His parents died when he was fourteen years of age, and his brother-in-law became his guardian. Moore’s parents left an inheritance that permitted him to attend Harvard College (now University), where he studied humanities and eventually became the editor of the student newspaper, ...

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Charles Moore. Photomechanical print, first half of the twentieth century. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90838).

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Stokes, Isaac Newton Phelps (11 April 1867–18 December 1944), architect and historian, was born in New York City, the son of Anson Phelps Stokes, a banker, and Helen Louisa Phelps. His education was interrupted by episodes of ill health, but he entered Harvard University in 1887 and graduated in 1891. Stokes worked briefly in banking before he began to study at the School of Architecture of Columbia University from 1893 to 1894. He left without taking a degree and went to Paris to study housing design at the École des Beaux Arts. Improved tenement housing was to be a lifelong interest of his. In 1895 he married Edith Minturn. They had an adopted daughter....