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Harriet Chalmers Adams. Harriet Chalmers Adams. Harriet Chalmers Adams, 1908. Glass negative. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-npcc-19900).

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Adams, Harriet Chalmers (22 October 1875–17 July 1937), explorer, lecturer, and writer, was born Harriet Chalmers in Stockton, California. Her father, Alexander Chalmers, Canadian via Scotland, came to California in 1864 to try his luck mining; he later ran a dry goods store with his brother before becoming a mine superintendent and part-owner. Her mother, Frances Wilkins, had grown up in the Sierra Nevada foothills. From the age of eleven Harriet and her sister Anna had private tutors. Her mother encouraged Harriet’s love of reading, while travels with her father developed her interest in the natural world as well as the Native American and Spanish-speaking cultures in the region. At thirteen Harriet and her father spent more than six months meandering the length of the Sierras from Oregon to Mexico, cementing her lifelong love of adventure. As a young woman Harriet continued her indoor and outdoor studies and had an active social life. She was fluent in Spanish and spoke Portuguese, French, Italian, and German as well....

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Bridgman, Herbert Lawrence (30 May 1844–24 September 1924), newspaper executive and explorer, was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Baxter Bridgman and Mary Nutting. Educated at local schools and at Amherst College, from which he graduated in 1866, Bridgman received a master’s degree in English from Amherst three years later....

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Denys de la Ronde, Louis (02 August 1675–25 March 1741), French military officer, explorer, and spy, was born in Quebec City, Canada, the son of Pierre Denys de la Ronde, a landowner and merchant (the Crown had given the aristocracy in Canada permission to engage in trade), and Catherine Leneuf de la Potherie. He entered naval service in 1687 as a midshipman in France. During the war of 1689–1697 he served in exiled British king James II’s expedition to Ireland, then off the coast of England, and finally on several voyages to New France and along the coast of New England. Captured at sea in 1695, he was soon released in an exchange of prisoners of war. He served in ...

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Charles F. Lummis Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95549).

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Lummis, Charles Fletcher (01 March 1859–25 November 1928), author, editor, and explorer, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the son of Henry Lummis, a teacher and Methodist clergyman, and Harriet Waterman Fowler. A sickly child, he was tutored at home, attended Harvard intermittently from 1877 to 1881, but left without a degree. He was a reporter for and then the editor of the weekly Scioto ...

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Stanley, Henry Morton (28 January 1841–10 May 1904), journalist and African explorer, was born in Denbigh, Wales, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Parry. He was named John Rowlands, perhaps the name of his father, and at an early age was sent to be educated in a workhouse, from which he fled in 1856. He worked his way on shipboard from Liverpool to New Orleans, where he was befriended by a merchant, Henry Morton Stanley, whose name he took as his own....

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Walsh, Henry Collins (23 November 1863–29 April 1927), journalist and explorer, was born in Florence, Italy, the son of Robert W. Walsh and Margaret Blount Mullen, Americans who came from prominent Irish Catholic families. Walsh was brought to the United States by his parents when he was nine years old and spent the remainder of his childhood on the East Coast. He studied at Georgetown College in Washington, D.C., where he received an M.A. in 1888....