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Cram, Ralph Adams (16 December 1863–22 September 1942), architect and cultural critic, was born in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, the son of William Augustine Cram, a Unitarian minister, and Sarah Elizabeth Blake. Cram’s early career was strongly affected by his father’s decision to abandon his profession and return to the family farm in New Hampshire to care for his elderly parents. As a result, the young Cram received no formal education after completing high school in 1880; instead, he was formed by a combination of apprenticeship in the office of the Boston, Massachusetts, architectural firm of Rotch and Tilden; extensive travel abroad, financed in part through prizes won in architectural competitions; and voluminous personal reading....

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Mumford, Lewis (09 October 1895–26 January 1990), urban historian and cultural critic, was born in Flushing, New York, the illegitimate son of Lewis Charles Mack, a Jewish businessman from New Jersey, and Elvina Conradina Baron Mumford, a German Protestant. Mumford never knew his father, learning his identity only in 1942. He grew up in a lower middle-class environment in Manhattan and in 1912 graduated from Stuyvesant High School, where he was chiefly interested in science and technology. New York’s museums and libraries contributed much to his education. Beginning in 1912 Mumford studied at City College, Columbia University, New York University, and the New School for Social Research. He earned enough credits for a degree but never graduated. Between 1914 and 1918 Mumford suffered from what he then regarded as incipient tuberculosis but which he later believed to have been a thyroid problem. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1918 to 1919. Having begun his career as a freelance writer, Mumford joined the staff of ...

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Norton, Charles Eliot (16 November 1827–21 October 1908), scholar and critic, was born at “Shady Hill,” his family’s estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His parents were Andrews Norton, biblical scholar and man of letters, and Catharine Eliot, daughter of a wealthy Boston merchant. Charles grew up in an academic household frequented by ...