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Allen, Frederick Lewis (05 July 1890–13 February 1954), editor and social historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Frederick Baylies Allen, a clergyman, and Alberta Hildegarde Lewis. Allen was educated at Groton School and Harvard University, where he received his B.A. in English in 1912 and his M.A. in 1913 in modern languages. Allen edited the literary magazine at Harvard and subsequently taught composition there for two years; he became an assistant editor at the ...

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Max Eastman Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1916. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-1374).

Article

William L. O’Neill

Eastman, Max (04 January 1883–25 March 1969), writer, was born Max Forrester Eastman in Canandaigua, New York, the son of Samuel Elijah Eastman and Annis Bertha Ford, both ordained ministers of the Congregational church. From the age of eleven to eighteen he lived in Elmira, New York, where his mother was associate pastor of Park Church. He graduated from Williams College in 1905, and from 1907 to 1910 he studied philosophy under ...

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H. L. Mencken Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1932. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-42489).

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Mencken, H. L. (12 September 1880–29 January 1956), author, editor, and journalist, was born Henry Louis Mencken in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of August Mencken, a cigar manufacturer, and Anna Abhau. Having emigrated from Germany during the mid-nineteenth century, the Menckens and Abhaus had quickly adapted to life in the United States, and they provided a home more Victorian than German-American for their four children. Henry Mencken, the eldest, did attend a private German school for his earliest education, but he completed his formal education at Baltimore Polytechnic, a high school primarily responsible for producing engineers and technicians....

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Paul, Elliot (13 February 1891–07 April 1958), writer, was born Elliot Harold Paul in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Howard Henry Paul, a varnish manufacturer, and Lucy Greenleaf Doucette. Howard Paul died in a mental institution shortly before Elliot’s fourth birthday. Consequently, older siblings and other relatives helped support the family. Paul showed early talent as a musician, but after graduating from high school in 1907, he joined his older brother in Montana and worked as a civil engineer for the U.S. Reclamation Service. He then returned east and spent the academic year 1908–1909 at the University of Maine, studying engineering. In 1909 Paul moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and worked for a year as a city engineer....

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Gilbert Seldes Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1932. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 1019 P&P).

Article

Seldes, Gilbert Vivian (03 January 1893–29 September 1970), critic and writer, was born in Alliance, New Jersey, the son of George Sergei Seldes, a pharmacist, and Anna Saphro, who died when Gilbert was three. His only sibling, George Seldes, became a distinguished journalist known for his coverage of European affairs between the world wars. Their father, a freethinker of Russian Jewish descent, sought to convert his farm into an anarchist utopian colony. When that did not succeed, he entered the drugstore business. He enjoyed friendships with ...