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Baldwin, Joseph Glover (21 January 1815–30 September 1864), attorney and author, was born in Friendly Grove Factory, Virginia, the son of Joseph Clarke Baldwin, a mill owner, and Eliza Cook. He was educated at Staunton Academy (Virginia), where he learned Latin and read widely in English and American authors. He left school at fourteen and became a clerk in the chancery court. This experience turned him toward a legal career, and after private study and law school he qualified as a lawyer at twenty. Baldwin also worked for a time as a newspaperman in Virginia and suffered a disappointment in love. In March 1836 he set out for the “Southwest”—specifically Alabama and Mississippi....

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Carruth, Hayden (31 October 1862–03 January 1932), writer, was born Fred Hayden Carruth near Lake City, Minnesota, the son of Oliver Powers Carruth and Mary Veeder, farmers. After receiving elementary and secondary education locally, young Fred, as he was then called, taught for several years in area schools. Although he had little interest in pursuing a college degree, he had shown skill as a writer from an early age, and he attended the University of Minnesota for one year, in 1881–1882, in preparation for a career in journalism....

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Faulk, John Henry (21 August 1913–09 April 1990), humorist, liberal political activist, and writer, was born in Austin, Texas, the son of Judge Henry Faulk, a successful trial lawyer, and Martha Miner. His father embraced a series of leftist causes, supporting Eugene Debs...

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Nye, Bill (25 August 1850–22 February 1896), American humorist and journalist, was born Edgar Wilson Nye in Shirley, Maine, the son of Franklin Nye, a lumberman, and Elizabeth Mitchell Loring. Nye actually grew up in Hudson, Wisconsin, where he “took [his] parents by the hand and gently led them” when he was but two, jested Nye years later. In Wisconsin he received nominal formal schooling. He tried his hand at farming, teaching, and studying law, but it was his interest in writing that developed most intensely and led him to write for small local newspapers. In fact, it was eventually his unsuccessful attempts to secure positions on Minneapolis and St. Paul newspapers that prompted Nye to leave the Midwest and head west in the spring of 1876....

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Townsend, Mary Ashley (24 September 1832–07 June 1901), writer, was born in Lyons, New York, the daughter of James G. Van Voorhis and Catherine Van Wickle, a distinguished Knickerbocker family. She was well educated prior to her marriage in 1856 to Gideon Townsend, a New Orleans merchant and banker. The couple had three daughters....

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White, E. B. (11 July 1899–01 October 1985), writer, was born Elwyn Brooks White in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of Samuel Tilly White, an executive of a piano manufacturing company, and Jessie Hart, the daughter of painter William Hart. White grew up in Mount Vernon, a suburb of New York, and spent summers with his family in Maine. According to his recollection, his ambition to become a writer dawned at the age of seven or eight, and when he was nine, he won a prize from ...