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Beach, Alfred Ely (01 September 1826–01 January 1896), magazine publisher and inventor, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Moses Yale Beach, a newspaper publisher, and Nancy Day. His father was apprenticed as a cabinetmaker but rose through a series of businesses to become owner and publisher of the New York ...

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Archibald Bruce. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03753).

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Bruce, Archibald ( February 1777–22 February 1818), physician, mineralogist, and editor, was born in New York City, the son of William Bruce, a British army medical officer, and Judith Bayard Van Rensselaer. Despite his father’s expressed wish, Bruce pursued medical education and practice. After taking an A.B. at Columbia College in 1797, he continued his studies in New York and then moved on to Edinburgh (M.D., 1800). As was common in this period, his medical education included exposure to the natural sciences, and Bruce developed a lifelong interest in mineralogy. After completing his M.D., he extended his European stay with travels on the Continent to study mineralogy and collect materials for his own mineralogical cabinet....

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Chamberlin, Rollin Thomas (20 October 1881–06 March 1948), teacher, editor, and structural and glacial geologist, was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, the son of Alma Isabel Wilson and Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, a geologist and educator. He was married in 1922 to Dorothy Ingalls Smith; they had three children....

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Gernsback, Hugo (16 August 1884–19 August 1967), publisher and inventor, was born Hugo Gernsbacher in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, the son of Moritz Gernsbacher, a vintner, and Berta Dürlacher. Gernsback was precociously interested in electricity, and his parents enrolled him in the École Industrielle in Luxembourg; a possibly apocryphal story states that by the age of thirteen he was earning money as an electrical contractor and had received special dispensation from Pope Leo XIII to install electric bells in the Carmelite convent of Luxembourg City. He later studied languages in a Belgian boarding school before spending three years at the Technikum in Bingen, Germany, inventing a dry-cell battery that was the most powerful in the world but too costly to market....

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Halsey, Frederick Arthur (12 July 1856–20 October 1935), mechanical engineer, journalist, and prominent opponent of the metric system, was born in Unadilla, New York, the son of Dr. Gaius Leonard Halsey, a physician, and Juliet Carrington. He attended Unadilla Academy and went on to study engineering at Cornell under the noted professor John E. Sweet, with whom he maintained close contact throughout his career....

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See Herrick, Clarence Luther

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Herrick, Clarence Luther (22 June 1858–15 September 1904), and Charles Judson Herrick (06 October 1868–29 January 1960), neuroscientists and editors, were born in the area of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the oldest and youngest sons of Henry Nathan Herrick, a Free Baptist minister and chaplain during the last year of the Civil War, and Ann Strickler....

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Herrick, Sophia McIlvaine Bledsoe (26 March 1837–09 October 1919), editor and writer, was born in Gambier, Ohio, the daughter of Albert Taylor Bledsoe, a lawyer and professor of mathematics, and Harriet Coxe. Sophia, or Sophie, grew up in Springfield, Illinois, where her father practiced law, and in Mississippi and Virginia, where he taught at the state universities. She was educated at boarding schools in Cincinnati and Dayton. In 1860 she married James Burton Herrick, an Episcopal clergyman, and moved with him to New York City. Between 1862 and 1865 Sophia and James had three children. In 1868 they separated, and Sophia and the children moved to Baltimore to join her father, who had served as assistant secretary of war in the Confederate government....

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Keyes, Charles Rollin (26 December 1864–18 May 1942), geologist, mining engineer, and publisher, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Calvin Webb Keyes, a wealthy merchant and entrepreneur, and Julia Baird Davis. Keyes entered the State University of Iowa in 1883, securing his bachelor’s degree in 1887 and, after leaving the campus, his A.M. in 1890....

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Lamb, Arthur Becket (25 February 1880–15 May 1952), chemist and editor, was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, the son of Louis Jacob Lamb, a jewelry manufacturer, and Elizabeth Becket. Lamb’s youthful interests in chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics were reinforced by his studies at Tufts College (A.B., A.M. 1900, Ph.D. 1904). ...

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James J. Mapes. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109830).

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Mapes, James Jay (29 May 1806–10 January 1866), chemist and writer, was born in Maspeth, New York, the son of Jonas Mapes, a merchant and importer, and Elizabeth Tylee. While at a boarding school on Long Island, Mapes lived for a time with the English reformer William Cobbett. As a scientist, however, he was largely self-taught....

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Shull, George Harrison (15 April 1874–29 September 1954), botanist and geneticist, was born on a farm near North Hampton, Ohio, the son of Harrison Shull and Catherine Ryman, farmers. A devout member of the Old German Baptist Church, Shull’s father was also an unpaid lay minister; his mother, an avid reader, eventually became an accomplished horticulturist after her children were raised. Shull’s formal education was sparse. It is estimated that he only spent 46.5 months in formal school before he entered college and never spent a full year in school at a time. Despite these trying circumstances, George and his seven siblings were educated with the help of their mother, who encouraged study. Stimulated by a rural background that provided him proximity to both wild and agricultural plants, Shull’s interest in plants was apparent by the age of sixteen....

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Williams, John Shoebridge (31 July 1790–22 April 1878), civil engineer, magazine editor, and spiritualist, was born in Newport, Carteret County, North Carolina, the son of Welsh immigrant Robert Williams, a plantation and mill owner, and English immigrant Anne Shoebridge. His mother provided him with his earliest education....

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Wurtz, Henry (05 June 1828–08 November 1910), chemist and editor, was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, the son of John J. Wurts and Ann Novus. The family name, originally Swiss, had many variant spellings (e.g., Wirtz, Wirts); it is likely that Wurtz chose the name he liked best. He received his A.B. in 1848 from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he studied with the physicist ...

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Youmans, Edward Livingston (03 June 1821–18 January 1887), scientific popularizer and editor, was born in Coeymans, New York, the son of Vincent Youmans, a farmer and mechanic, and Catherine Scofield, a teacher. A voracious reader raised in a home where books and ideas were valued, Youmans early developed an interest in science and largely educated himself after completing common-school studies. An attack of ophthalmia in 1835 damaged his eyesight and prompted his move to New York City for treatment in 1839. There he met ...