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John Cassin Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101868).

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Cassin, John (06 September 1813–10 January 1869), ornithologist and printing company executive, was born near the present site of Media, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Cassin, a Quaker farmer, and Rachel Sharpless. Cassin attended a Quaker School in Westtown, Pennsylvania, and studied under private tutors. His interest in natural history developed as the result of the emphasis placed on the subject by Quaker schools at that time; this proved decisive in Cassin’s choice of avocation. He began observing and identifying birds on the family property in his mid-teens, and as an adult he regretted that he had not gotten out into the field more often to go birdwatching. At age twenty-one he went to Philadelphia, where he worked first in merchandising and then at the U.S. Customs House. When J. T. Bowen, an engraver and lithographer, died, Cassin assumed the management of Bowen’s firm and continued to supply illustrations for various scientific books and periodicals and for federal government publications....

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Hamlin, William (15 October 1772–22 November 1869), engraver and maker of scientific instruments, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Samuel Hamlin, a pewterer, and Thankful Ely. When he was four years old, he was taken to Middletown, Connecticut, remaining there until he was twenty-one. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Samuel Canfield, a goldsmith and silversmith. Hamlin had wanted to be a painter, but his father made him follow a trade. He also took lessons in engraving from Richard Brunton. After completing his apprenticeship, he went to New York City and worked for Dudley Mann in Maiden Lane and for Peter Allison on Broadway, both silversmiths. After a few months, however, he returned to Providence to care for his ailing parents....

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Sholes, Christopher Latham (14 February 1819–17 February 1890), printer, journalist, and inventor, was born on a farm near Mooresburg, Pennsylvania, the son of Orrin Sholes, a cabinetmaker; his mother’s name is not known. His parents moved soon after to Danville, Pennsylvania, where he attended school until age fourteen. He worked as an apprentice printer for the editor of the ...