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Herbst, Josephine Frey (05 March 1892–28 January 1969), novelist, biographer, and radical journalist, was born in Sioux City, Iowa, the daughter of William Benton Herbst, a salesman of farm equipment, and Mary Frey. Herbst graduated from high school in 1910 and earned her own college tuition. Alternating schooling with stints as a teacher, secretary, and clerk, she attended classes at Morningside College, the University of Iowa, and the University of Washington before completing her B.A. in English at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first poems were published in an undergraduate magazine at Berkeley....

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Mailer, Norman (31 January 1923–10 November 2007), novelist, biographer, and journalist, was born Norman Kingsley Mailer in Long Branch, New Jersey, the eldest child of Isaac Barnett (Barney) Mailer, a Jewish immigrant from South Africa whose family originated from Lithuania, and Fanny Schneider Mailer, whose family also originated from Lithuania. Barney Mailer was an accountant who was often unemployed during the Depression; he was also a gambler and narrowly escaped prosecution for embezzlement. Fanny Mailer’s family ran hotels in Long Branch, a seaside resort town, and Fanny herself was “the motor of the family,” Norman Mailer said, “and without her I don’t know what would have happened to us.” She was her son’s greatest booster during her long life (1891–1985), although he identified closely with his father’s secret rebelliousness. When Mailer was five years old the family moved to Brooklyn, and Mailer maintained a home there for most of his life....