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Dabney, Richard (1787– November 1825), poet, critic, and translator, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Dabney, a planter of modest means, and Jane Meriwether, aunt of the explorer Meriwether Lewis. Richard did not attend college, but at sixteen he took eagerly to languages at a Latin and Greek school and before he was twenty was invited to become an assistant Latin and Greek teacher at a Richmond academy. It is not known where Dabney learned Italian and French. His precocious assimilation of literature in four languages is remarkable in light of his scant formal education....

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Lewisohn, Ludwig (30 May 1883–31 December 1955), writer and translator, was born to acculturated Jewish parents, Minna Eloesser and Jacques Lewisohn, in Berlin. His father, a ne’er-do-well businessman, settled the family in a South Carolina village, where Minna Lewisohn had relatives, in 1890. But Lewisohn spent most of his childhood in Charleston where, he recalled, he strove to “forget his Jewish and his German past” and be accepted as “an American, a Southerner, and a Christian.” Graduating in 1901 from the College of Charleston with both a B.A. and an M.A., he began graduate studies in English literature at Columbia University in New York City, where in 1903 he earned another M.A. In New York he began to affirm his German and, ultimately, his Jewish origins. He was plagued by the anti-Semitism and xenophobia of American university life at that time, but as instructor of German at the University of Wisconsin (1910–1911) and subsequently as professor of German language and literature at Ohio State University (1911–1919) he established his credentials as a prime interpreter of modern European, especially German, literature....

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Marianne Moore Photograph by George Platt Lynes, 1935. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101955).

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Elaine Oswald and Robert L. Gale

Moore, Marianne (15 November 1887–05 February 1972), poet, critic, and translator, was born Marianne Craig Moore in Kirkland, Missouri, the daughter of John Milton Moore, a construction engineer and inventor, and Mary Warner. Moore had an older brother, John Warner Moore. She never met her father; before her birth his invention of a smokeless furnace failed, and he had a nervous and mental breakdown and was hospitalized in Massachusetts. Moore’s mother became a housekeeper for John Riddle Warner, her father, an affectionate, well-read Presbyterian pastor in Kirkwood, until his death in 1894. Moore’s mother, always overly protective, moved with her children briefly to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where Moore attended the Metzger Institute (now part of Dickinson College) through high school. In 1905 she entered Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; published nine poems, including “A Jelly-Fish,” in its literary magazines ...

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Payne, William Morton (14 February 1858–11 July 1919), writer, translator, and educator, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the son of Henry Morton Payne, a manufacturer of machinery for cotton mills, and Emma Tilton. In 1868 the Paynes relocated to Chicago, where William continued his primary and secondary schooling and displayed a keen interest in literature. Financial difficulties ruled out further formal education but failed to deter young Payne from avidly pursuing self-education. Payne, who never married, remained in Chicago for the duration of his life and became one of that city’s better-known citizens....

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Preston, Harriet Waters (06 August 1836–14 May 1911), writer and translator, was born in Danvers, Massachusetts, the daughter of Samuel Preston and Lydia Proctor. She was educated by private tutors at home and then lived abroad, mainly in Italy, France, and England. She returned to the United States in 1865, lived in New England, and turned her fluency in Latin, French, and Italian to good use as a translator. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s she frequently contributed critical articles and reviews to scholarly magazines such as the ...