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L. Frank Baum. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103206).

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Baum, L. Frank (15 May 1856–06 May 1919), children's author, journalist, and playwright, children’s author, journalist, and playwright, was born Lyman Frank Baum in Chittenango, New York, the son of Benjamin Ward Baum, a cooper and sawyer who had made a fortune in Pennsylvania oil, and Cynthia Stanton. He grew up on the family estate, “Roselawn,” outside Syracuse, New York. Suffering from a congenitally weak heart, he was educated at home. A stay at Peekskill Military Academy beginning in 1868—which gave Baum a lifelong antipathy to academics and the military—ended less than two years later in his having a heart attack. Back home, he published a family newspaper and periodicals on stamp collecting and the breeding of fancy chickens. In 1881 he studied theater in New York City and joined a repertory company, then managed an opera house in Richburg, New York, from 1881 to 1882, and, with his father’s financing, toured successfully with ...

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Hornblow, Arthur, Sr. (1865–06 May 1942), editor, author, and dramatist, was born in Manchester, England, the son of William Hornblow and Sarah Jane Rodgers. Little is known of Hornblow’s childhood; however, he studied literature and painting in Paris before coming to the United States in 1889. While in Paris, Hornblow acted as a correspondent for both English and American newspapers....

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Cornelius Mathews. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-4157).

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Mathews, Cornelius (28 October 1817?–25 March 1889), author and editor, was born in Port Chester, New York, the son of Abijah Mathews, a cabinetmaker, and Catherine Van Cott. Little is known about Mathews’s childhood. No diaries, letters, or articles exist before the mid-1830s. However, according to Trows New York Directory, his family moved from Westchester County to Manhattan, and Mathews resided for the rest of his life in various locations in lower Manhattan. He attended Columbia University from 1830 to 1832. In 1833 he transferred to the College of the City of New York, now known as New York University. The Reverend James Mathews, a relative of the family, was the chancellor of the newly established college. Cornelius Mathews received his A.B. degree in the first graduating class of 1834, and, at the commencement ceremony held at the Middle Dutch Church of New York, he gave a speech titled “Females of the American Revolution.” Mathews was admitted to the bar in 1837 and practiced law for a short time. He became the first president of the university’s alumni association in 1846. For a Eucleian Society meeting he presented his speech “Americanism—What Is It?” (1845), later published in the ...

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Porter, Charlotte Endymion (06 January 1857–16 January 1942), editor and publisher, dramatist, and translator, was born Helen Charlotte Porter in Towanda, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Henry Clinton Porter and Elisa (or Eliza) Eleanor Betts. She graduated from Wells College (Aurora, N.Y.) in 1875 and then studied Shakespeare and French drama at the Sorbonne in France. In 1883 Porter settled in Philadelphia and became editor of ...

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Stallings, Laurence Tucker (24 November 1894–28 February 1968), writer and editor, was born in Macon, Georgia, the son of Larkin Tucker Stallings, a bank teller, and Aurora Brooks. He took to the craft of writing at a young age and read widely. After graduating from Wake Forest College in North Carolina in 1916, he became a reporter for the ...

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Thurman, Wallace (16 August 1902–21 December 1934), Harlem Renaissance writer and editor, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Oscar Thurman and Beulah Jackson. His father left the family while Wallace was young, and his mother remarried several times, possibly contributing to his lifelong feelings of insecurity. Thurman’s lifetime struggle with ill health began as a child, and his fragile constitution and nervous disposition led him to become a voracious reader with literary aspirations. Thurman entered the University of Utah in 1919, but he quickly transferred to the University of Southern California, where he studied for entrance into medical school until 1923. After leaving college, Thurman worked in a post office to support himself while he wrote a column for a black newspaper and edited ...