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Auslander, Joseph (11 October 1897–22 June 1965), poet, editor, and translator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Louis Auslander and Martha Asyueck. He attended Columbia University from 1914 to 1915, then transferred to Harvard, receiving his B.A. in 1917. In 1919 he became an instructor in English at Harvard. He pursued graduate studies there until 1924, with the interruption of one year (1921–1922) at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he went on a Parker Traveling Fellowship. His poetry began to appear in national magazines in 1919, and his first volume, ...

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Blackburn, Paul (24 November 1926–13 September 1971), poet and translator, was born in Saint Albans, Vermont, the son of William Blackburn and Frances Frost, a poet and novelist. Blackburn’s parents separated in 1930. His father left for California; his mother pursued a literary career, eventually settling in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Blackburn was left in the care of his strict maternal grandparents. His grandmother required little pretext for whipping him regularly, and his grandfather, who worked for the railroad, was away from home for long stretches at a time. In late poems such as “My Sainted,” he reveals his bitterness about his early childhood....

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Boardman, Sarah Hall (04 November 1803–01 September 1845), Baptist missionary and translator, was born in Alstead, New Hampshire, the daughter of Ralph Hall and Abiah O. Hall (her maiden name). Sarah learned Latin, read widely in Christian apologetics and philosophy, and taught school for a time. She was also a writer and poet, and as the eldest of thirteen children, she helped to raise her siblings. Sarah converted to the Christian faith at age sixteen and was baptized by Lucius Bolles, a Baptist pastor in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1825 she married the Reverend George Dana Boardman; they had three children. The couple then accepted a missionary assignment with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions in Burma. Temporarily detained in Calcutta, India, due to the Burmese War, they arrived in Moulmain in 1827 and settled in Tavoy in 1828. In 1831 George died, and Boardman was left with her children in Tavoy, which was under military siege....

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Booth, Mary Louise (19 April 1831–05 March 1889), magazine editor and translator, was born in Millville (later Yaphank), Long Island, New York, the oldest child of William Chatfield Booth, a schoolteacher, and Nancy Monsell. Booth attended local schools at Yaphank and at Williamsburgh, which became part of Brooklyn, where the family moved in 1844 when her father became principal of a public school. Mainly, however, she was self-taught, reading the entire Bible at age five and Racine in the original French at seven. Although her father thought teaching the only suitable career for a woman, and she taught in his school briefly (about 1845–1846), she aspired to a literary career....

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Campanius, Johan (15 August 1601–17 September 1683), first European to translate a religious document into a Native-American language, thought to have been the was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of Reverend Jonas Peter Campanius, rector of St. Klara’s Church. (His mother’s name is unknown.) He was ordained in 1633 after graduating from the University of Uppsala. The name Holm was often added to his name to indicate that he was from Stockholm....

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Ciardi, John (24 June 1916–30 March 1986), poet-translator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Carminantonio Ciardi, an insurance premium collector, and Concetta Di Benedictis. Ciardi was delivered by a midwife at his parents’ home in Boston’s Little Italy. Three years later his father died in an automobile accident, and his mother moved her family seven miles away to Medford, where the poet grew up across the street from the Mystic River. After high school, he went to Bates College in Maine for a year and a half before transferring to Tufts College in Medford for financial reasons. He majored in English and learned poetry from John Holmes, himself an accomplished poet-teacher, who became a surrogate father for Ciardi. He graduated with honors in 1938 and went to the University of Michigan to study poetry with Roy Cowden. There he won the Avery Hopwood Poetry Award in 1939, the same year he received an M.A. in English....

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See Curtin, Jeremiah

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Curtin, Jeremiah (06 September 1835–14 December 1906), and Alma Cardell Curtin (11 March 1847–14 April 1938), authors, ; Jeremiah was an author, translator, ethnographer, and linguist who gained fame late in life, and his wife Alma served as his uncredited collaborator for more than thirty years. After his death she wrote books under his name, including the ...

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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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Deutsch, Babette (22 September 1895–13 November 1982), writer, editor, and translator, was born in New York City, the daughter of Michael Deutsch and Melanie Fisher. She grew up in New York, was a student at the Ethical Culture school, and attended Barnard College, graduating in 1917. She worked briefly for ...

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Dorion, Marie (1790–05 September 1850), interpreter, was born into the Iowa tribe as Marie Aioe, or Marie L’Aguivoise; both versions of her maiden surname, variations on the word “Iowa,” appear in early nineteenth-century records of Oregon and Washington territories. Nothing is known of her life until she became the common-law wife of a half Sioux, half French-Canadian fur trader, Pierre Dorion, Jr., around 1806 in the vicinity of what is now Yankton, South Dakota. Pierre Dorion, Sr., had been an interpreter and a guide with the ...

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Du Ponceau, Pierre Étienne (03 June 1760–01 April 1844), scholar and lawyer, was born in St. Martin, Isle of Ré, France, the son of a French army officer. He was trained first for the military, which he had to abandon because of poor eyesight, and then for the Roman Catholic priesthood by Benedictine monks at St. Jean Angely and at the Episcopal College in Poitou. After 1775 Du Ponceau served as a secretary and assistant to minor government officials in Paris and to the philologist Count de Gebelin. He came to the United States in 1777 as secretary and nominal military aide to Prussian army officer Baron ...

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Dwight, Theodore (03 March 1796–16 October 1866), author, translator, and reformer, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Theodore Dwight, a lawyer, editor, and secretary to the Hartford Convention, and Abigail Alsop. His father was one of the Hartford Wits, a group of Connecticut poets who followed in the tradition of the Connecticut Wits, to which his uncle, Yale College president ...

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Ferguson, Elizabeth Graeme (03 February 1737–23 February 1801), writer and translator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas Graeme, a prominent physician, and Ann Diggs, stepdaughter of Sir William Keith, the first provincial governor of Pennsylvania. In the environment of her father’s large estate, “Graeme Park,” Elizabeth developed into a well-read and cultivated young woman. According to one memoir, her literary activity began “to divert her mind” from a broken engagement to ...

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Fitts, Dudley (28 April 1903–10 July 1968), translator and poet, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Dudley Thomas Fitts, a bookkeeper, and Edith Kimball Eaton. He attended Harvard University, where he edited the Harvard Advocate; he graduated in 1925. His first serious poems appeared in 1930 in ...

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Fleete, Henry (1602–1661), English colonial merchant and Indian interpreter, was born in County Kent, England, the son of William Fleete, a lawyer and country squire, and Deborah Scott. Residing in America after 1621, Fleete is best known for pioneering the Potomac River beaver trade between the late 1620s and early 1630s and for guiding Lord Baltimore’s colonists to their first Maryland settlement in March 1634....

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Gallaudet, Thomas (03 June 1822–27 August 1902), Episcopal minister to the deaf, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, educator of the deaf, and Sophia Fowler. Thomas Hopkins had founded the Connecticut Asylum, a school for the deaf in Hartford in 1817, and Sophia was one of its first graduates. They had little money but their work was well known and brought them into contact with the highest echelons of society. Growing up in these surroundings, Thomas early became interested in education for the deaf and particularly in communication through sign language....

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George, Grace (27 December 1874–19 May 1961), actress, director, and translator/adapter, was born Grace Doughtery in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of George Doughtery and Ellen Kinney (occupations unknown). She changed her name to Grace George in 1892 for professional reasons. George attended a convent school in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In 1893 she enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She made her professional debut in 1894 as a schoolgirl in ...

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Girty, Simon (1741–18 February 1818), British Loyalist and frontier warrior, was born near Harrisburg in colonial Pennsylvania, the son of farmers. One of at least four children born to Simon Girty and Mary Newton, young Simon was raised in modest circumstances. He received no formal education and remained illiterate. When only ten years of age, his father was killed by an Indian. Girty later maintained that his stepfather met a similar fate. In the course of the French and Indian War, Simon was captured by the Seneca and held captive for thirty-six months. During his captivity, Girty became familiar with the language of his captors....

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Gode-von Aesch, Alexander (30 October 1906–10 August 1970), linguist, translator, and publisher, was born Alexander Gottfried Friedrich Gode-von Aesch in Bremen, Germany, the son of Heinrich Gode, a businessman, and Anna von Aesch. With a German father and a Swiss mother, Alexander Gode, as he was most often known, was multilingual from childhood and studied language at the Universities of Vienna and Paris. He immigrated to the United States in 1927 to pursue his education further and became a citizen in 1939. He obtained a master of arts degree in languages at Columbia University in New York City in 1929 and a doctorate of philosophy in Germanic studies there ten years later. He married Johanna Roeser in 1930; the couple had two children. After his wife's death in 1963 he married Janet Alison Livermore, with whom he also had two children....