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Malcolm Cowley Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1963. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106863).

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Cowley, Malcolm (24 August 1898–28 March 1989), literary critic and editor, was born in a farmhouse near Belsano, Pennsylvania, the son of William Cowley, a homeopathic physician, and Josephine Hutmacher. After attending Pittsburgh public schools, in which he began a lifelong friendship with the critic ...

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Kirkus, Virginia (07 December 1893–10 September 1980), editor, book reviewer, and author, was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Frederick Maurice Kirkus, a clergyman, and Isabella Clark. When Kirkus was eight years old, she told her father that when she grew up, she wanted to “make books.” The world of books became part of who she was....

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Scudder, Horace Elisha (16 October 1838–11 January 1902), editor and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Scudder, a well-to-do hardware and commission merchant, and Sarah Lathrop Coit. The family was active in the Congregational church. Scudder attended the Roxbury Latin School, the Boston Latin School, and then Williams College, edited the ...

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Stoddard, Richard Henry (02 July 1825–12 May 1903), poet, critic, and editor, was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, the son of Reuben Stoddard and Sophia Gurney. In 1828 his father, the master and part owner of a ship, was lost at sea. Stoddard and his mother lived briefly with her puritanical in-laws and then in squalor with her own improvident relatives in mill towns. When she married another sailor, the three lived in New York City beginning in 1835. Stoddard went to school, read voraciously from 1840, but then went to work to help support the family. He was an errand boy, an office boy, a scrivener, a bookkeeper, and—from 1843 to 1845—an apprentice iron molder....