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Mercier, Alfred (03 June 1816–12 May 1894), writer and physician, was born Charles Alfred Mercier in McDonoughville, Louisiana, the son of Jean-Baptiste Mercier, a plantation owner, and Marie-Héloïse Leduc. In accordance with the practice common among upper-class French families in Louisiana of educating their Creole sons in Paris, Mercier’s parents sent him to the Collège Louis le Grand in 1830. Inspired by his reading there of classical and romantic works—especially those by Sir Walter Scott, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Chateaubriand, and Lamartine—Mercier put off his previous intention of studying law in favor of pursuing literary ambitions. In 1838 he went back to Louisiana and then visited Boston to improve his English, but when his brother-in-law ...

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Testut, Charles (1819?–01 July 1892), Romantic literary artist, journalist, and physician, was born Charles-Hippolyte-Joseph Testut in Auxerre, France, and though he emigrated to the United States in the late 1830s when he was in his early twenties, he remained a French citizen until his death in New Orleans, Louisiana. The details of Testut’s personal life are sketchy. In his writings he alluded to a brother, Eugène, and a sister, Marie, and he cherished the memory of his father, whom he referred to as a high-ranking official in the Rosicrucian movement. He also mentioned his wife and children and spoke fondly of his dozen or so grandchildren. It appears, however, that when he settled permanently in New Orleans in 1871 his family resided elsewhere....

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William Carlos Williams Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109601).

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Williams, William Carlos (17 September 1883–04 March 1963), author and physician, was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, the son of William George Williams, a New York businessman of British extraction, and Raquel Hélène Hoheb, who was from Puerto Rico. William Carlos Williams spoke Spanish and French as well as English. From 1897 to 1899 he was schooled in Switzerland, with some time in Paris. In 1902 he graduated from high school in New York and was accepted into the dental school of the University of Pennsylvania, but soon transferred to the medical school. There began his long-lived friendships with ...