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Allen, Joel Asaph (19 July 1838–29 August 1921), zoologist and museum official, was born near Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Joel Allen, a carpenter, housebuilder, and later a farmer, and Harriet Trumbull, a former schoolteacher. Allen attended the local public schools in the wintertime, but his father, a rigidly puritanical Congregationalist, insisted that he work on the family farm during good weather. From the age of about fourteen, as Allen’s interest in natural history, particularly birds, increased, his interest in farming diminished. He nevertheless worked long hours for his father in a spirit of filial loyalty, possibly laying the foundation for the serious bouts of ill health that would plague him in later years. Whenever possible, he prepared study specimens of birds and animals for his own private collection. From 1858 to 1862 Allen’s father supported his intermittent attendance at nearby Wilbraham Academy....

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Chapman, Frank Michler (12 June 1864–15 November 1945), ornithologist and museum curator, was born in Englewood Township, New Jersey, the son of Lebbeus Chapman, Jr., a partner in a New York City law firm, and Mary Augusta Parkhurst. His father died when his son was eleven. In addition to possessing a strong ornithological interest from the age of eight, Chapman inherited a musical ear from his mother, and his daughter-in-law, ...

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Chase, William Merritt (01 November 1849–25 October 1916), artist and teacher, was born in Nineveh, Indiana, the son of David Hester Chase, a merchant, and Sarah Swaim. At age twelve Chase moved with his family to Indianapolis, where he attended public schools and worked in his father’s shoe store. Chase showed little interest in commerce but demonstrated considerable artistic talent. Around 1866 he began to study with local painters Barton S. Hays and Jacob Cox. Bored with the shoe store and Indianapolis, Chase joined the U.S. Navy as an apprentice in 1867. He quickly realized that he had made a mistake and successfully sought a discharge within a few months. Cox and Hays then convinced David Chase to send his son to New York City to study at the National Academy of Design....

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Chávez, Carlos (13 June 1899–02 August 1978), influential Mexican composer/conductor, author, and educator, of Spanish and some Indian descent, was born Carlos Antonio de Padua Chávez y Ramírez in Mexico City, the seventh son of Augustin Chávez, an inventor, and Juvencia Ramírez, a teacher. His mother supported the children after her husband’s death in 1902. Chávez began his musical studies at an early age and studied piano, first with his elder brother Manuel, then with Asunción Parra, and later with composer and pianist Manuel M. Ponce (1910–1914) and pianist and teacher Pedro Luis Ogazón (1915–1920). Chávez credited Ogazón with introducing him to the best classical and Romantic music and with developing his musical taste and technical formation. He received little formal training in composition, concentrating instead on the piano, analysis of musical scores, and orchestration. Chávez’s maternal grandfather was Indian, and from the time Chávez was five or six his family frequently vacationed in the ancient city-state of Tlaxcala, the home of a tribe that opposed the Aztecs. He later visited such diverse Indian centers as Puebla, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Michoacan in pursuit of Indian culture, which proved a significant influence on his early works....

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Hartmann, Sadakichi (08 November 1867?–21 November 1944), art critic, was born Carl Sadakichi Hartmann in Nagasaki, Japan, the son of Carl Herman Oscar Hartmann, a German government official and businessman, and a Japanese woman, Osada. His mother died within several months of his birth, and Sadakichi was sent to live with relatives in Germany. His formal education ended at fourteen when he ran away from military school. Hartmann’s father responded by sending him to the United States to live with a family in Philadelphia, but he struck out on his own within a year. Hartmann schooled himself and cultivated relationships with local art and literary figures, including ...

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Henri, Robert (24 June 1865–12 July 1929), artist and teacher, was born Robert Henry Cozad in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of John Jackson Cozad, a riverboat gambler and land speculator, and Theresa Gatewood. His father invested in 50,000 acres in Nebraska to found a city, and in 1873 or 1874 he moved the family to the frontier, where he formed the agricultural community of Cozad. Young Robert spent his next few years on the family ranch, attending school intermittently in Cozad and at the Chickering Classical and Scientific Institute in Cincinnati, to which he returned each fall in 1875, 1877, 1878, and 1879. The Cozads moved to Denver in 1881, and on a visit to his Nebraska property the next year John Cozad killed one of his workers in a fight over wages. The family fled an arrest warrant, settling in Atlantic City under assumed names. John and Theresa became Mr. and Mrs. Richard Henry Lee, their older son John took the name Frank L. Southrn [ ...

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Luks, George Benjamin (13 August 1867–30 October 1933), artist and teacher, was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the son of Emil Charles Luks, a physician and apothecary, and Bertha von Kraemer. Prior to becoming a painter, he costarred in a vaudeville act, “Buzzy and Anstock,” with his younger brother Charles, but his career in theater lasted only a year. In 1883 a fire swept through Williamsport, and he and his brother returned home to Pennsylvania to assist in the rebuilding of their parents’ home. Luks did not return to the stage but instead enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1884, taking classes under ...

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Phillips, Duncan (26 June 1886–09 May 1966), art collector, writer, and museum founder, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Duncan Clinch Phillips, a business executive, and Eliza Laughlin Phillips, the daughter of James Laughlin, a banker and cofounder of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company. In 1896 the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Phillips attended private schools. In 1908 he received a B.A. in English literature from Yale University. There he had published essays and reviews on esthetic matters. After graduation, he made his home in Washington while continuing to educate himself in the visual arts through reading, collecting, extended sojourns in New York, and travel to Asia and Europe. In 1912 he published his first article in a professional art magazine, and two years later a group of essays appeared as his first book, ...

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Ridgway, Robert (02 July 1850–25 March 1929), ornithologist and museum curator, was born in Mount Carmel, Illinois, the son of David Ridgway, a pharmacist, and Henrietta Janes Reed. The eldest of ten children, he was educated in the local school and by his parents, who encouraged his interests in natural history. At the early age of ten Ridgway demonstrated considerable ability in collecting birds and other animals near his home and in painting them with watercolors he mixed himself at his father’s pharmacy....

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Steichen, Edward (27 March 1879–25 March 1973), photographer and curator of museum exhibitions, was born Edouard Jean Steichen in Luxembourg, the son of Jean-Pierre Steichen, a copper miner, and Marie Kemp, a milliner. The family immigrated to Milwaukee in 1881. Edward Steichen began his distinguished career with an apprenticeship (1894–1898) at the Milwaukee American Fine Art Company, where he learned lithography and the basics of design. At the same time, with encouragement from his mother, he studied painting at the Milwaukee Art Students League....