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Beach, Alfred Ely (01 September 1826–01 January 1896), magazine publisher and inventor  

Jack Colldeweih

Beach, Alfred Ely (01 September 1826–01 January 1896), magazine publisher and inventor, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Moses Yale Beach, a newspaper publisher, and Nancy Day. His father was apprenticed as a cabinetmaker but rose through a series of businesses to become owner and publisher of the New York ...


Beach, Moses Yale (1800-1868), journalist and inventor  

James L. Crouthamel

Beach, Moses Yale (07 January 1800–19 July 1868), journalist and inventor, was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, the son of Moses Sperry Beach and Lucretia (Stanley) Yale, farmers. (Some sources cite 15 January as his birth date.) With some common school education, young Moses demonstrated mechanical ingenuity and was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker at age fourteen. By working overtime he was able to buy his freedom in four years, and he set up a cabinet shop of his own in Northampton, Massachusetts. He married Nancy Day of Springfield in either 1819 or 1821 (sources conflict); the couple would have eight children. (It is possible that he married a second time, but the evidence is not firm.)...


Brewer, Thomas Mayo (1814-1880), ornithologist and journalist  

Michael J. Brodhead

Brewer, Thomas Mayo (21 November 1814–23 January 1880), ornithologist and journalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of James Brewer, a colonel in the revolutionary war (mother’s name unknown). He graduated from Harvard College in 1835 and from Harvard Medical School three years later. After a few years of practice in Boston’s North End, Brewer virtually abandoned medicine in favor of journalism and natural history....


Bruce, Archibald (1777-1818), physician, mineralogist, and editor  

Julie R. Newell

Bruce, Archibald ( February 1777–22 February 1818), physician, mineralogist, and editor, was born in New York City, the son of William Bruce, a British army medical officer, and Judith Bayard Van Rensselaer. Despite his father’s expressed wish, Bruce pursued medical education and practice. After taking an A.B. at Columbia College in 1797, he continued his studies in New York and then moved on to Edinburgh (M.D., 1800). As was common in this period, his medical education included exposure to the natural sciences, and Bruce developed a lifelong interest in mineralogy. After completing his M.D., he extended his European stay with travels on the Continent to study mineralogy and collect materials for his own mineralogical cabinet....


Cover Bruce, Archibald (1777-1818)
Archibald Bruce. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03753).


Chamberlin, Rollin Thomas (1881-1948), teacher, editor, and structural and glacial geologist  

Ellis L. Yochelson

Chamberlin, Rollin Thomas (20 October 1881–06 March 1948), teacher, editor, and structural and glacial geologist, was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, the son of Alma Isabel Wilson and Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, a geologist and educator. He was married in 1922 to Dorothy Ingalls Smith; they had three children....


Davis, Watson (1896-1967), science writer and editor  

George R. Ehrhardt

Davis, Watson (29 April 1896–27 June 1967), science writer and editor, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Charles Allan Davis, a high-school principal, and Maud Watson, a teacher. Davis attended George Washington University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1918 and a civil engineering degree in 1920. In 1919 he married Helen Augusta Miles, a fellow student and a chemist; they had two children....


Deutsch, Albert (1905-1961), historian and journalist  

Edward M. Brown

Deutsch, Albert (23 October 1905–21 June 1961), historian and journalist, was born in New York City, the son of Barnett Deutsch and Kate Knopke. Raised on the Lower East Side, Deutsch was the fourth of nine children in a poor Jewish family that had recently emigrated from Latvia. At the age of five, following an accident, his right eye had to be enucleated. He was largely self-educated. Before finishing high school, he left home and traveled around the United States, working as a longshoreman, a field hand, and a shipyard worker. While on the road, he continued his education in public libraries around the country....


Douglas, Marjory Stoneman (1890-1998), author and environmentalist  

Richard Harmond

Douglas, Marjory Stoneman (07 April 1890–14 May 1998), author and environmentalist, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Florence Lillian Trefethen Stoneman, who went by the name of Lillian, and Frank Bryant Stoneman, a businessman and newspaper editor. When Marjory was three her father's business failed, and the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Further business reverses took a toll on Lillian Stoneman's mental health and resulted in a nervous breakdown. Not long thereafter, Lillian separated from her husband and, with her six-year-old daughter, traveled to Taunton, Massachusetts, to live with her parents and unmarried sister....


Eifert, Virginia S. (1911-1966), writer  

John E. Hallwas

Eifert, Virginia S. (23 January 1911–16 June 1966), writer, was born in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of Ernest Snider, a building engineer for the Elks Club, and Felicie Cottet. As a child Eifert was fascinated by wildlife. She spent much time outdoors, especially in Springfield’s Washington Park, and read nature books by such authors as ...


Gernsback, Hugo (1884-1967), publisher and inventor  

Richard Bleiler

Gernsback, Hugo (16 August 1884–19 August 1967), publisher and inventor, was born Hugo Gernsbacher in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, the son of Moritz Gernsbacher, a vintner, and Berta Dürlacher. Gernsback was precociously interested in electricity, and his parents enrolled him in the École Industrielle in Luxembourg; a possibly apocryphal story states that by the age of thirteen he was earning money as an electrical contractor and had received special dispensation from Pope Leo XIII to install electric bells in the Carmelite convent of Luxembourg City. He later studied languages in a Belgian boarding school before spending three years at the Technikum in Bingen, Germany, inventing a dry-cell battery that was the most powerful in the world but too costly to market....


Halsey, Frederick Arthur (1856-1935), mechanical engineer, journalist, and prominent opponent of the metric system  

Robert R. Jenks

Halsey, Frederick Arthur (12 July 1856–20 October 1935), mechanical engineer, journalist, and prominent opponent of the metric system, was born in Unadilla, New York, the son of Dr. Gaius Leonard Halsey, a physician, and Juliet Carrington. He attended Unadilla Academy and went on to study engineering at Cornell under the noted professor John E. Sweet, with whom he maintained close contact throughout his career....


Herrick, Charles Judson  

See Herrick, Clarence Luther


Herrick, Clarence Luther (1858-1904), neuroscientists and editors  

Duane E. Haines

Herrick, Clarence Luther (22 June 1858–15 September 1904), and Charles Judson Herrick (06 October 1868–29 January 1960), neuroscientists and editors, were born in the area of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the oldest and youngest sons of Henry Nathan Herrick, a Free Baptist minister and chaplain during the last year of the Civil War, and Ann Strickler....


Herrick, Sophia McIlvaine Bledsoe (1837-1919), editor and writer  

Aaron M. Lisec

Herrick, Sophia McIlvaine Bledsoe (26 March 1837–09 October 1919), editor and writer, was born in Gambier, Ohio, the daughter of Albert Taylor Bledsoe, a lawyer and professor of mathematics, and Harriet Coxe. Sophia, or Sophie, grew up in Springfield, Illinois, where her father practiced law, and in Mississippi and Virginia, where he taught at the state universities. She was educated at boarding schools in Cincinnati and Dayton. In 1860 she married James Burton Herrick, an Episcopal clergyman, and moved with him to New York City. Between 1862 and 1865 Sophia and James had three children. In 1868 they separated, and Sophia and the children moved to Baltimore to join her father, who had served as assistant secretary of war in the Confederate government....


Howey, Walter Crawford (1882-1954), journalist and inventor  

Robert L. Gale

Howey, Walter Crawford (16 January 1882–21 March 1954), journalist and inventor, was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the son of Frank Harris Howey, a helper in a drug, paint, and wallpaper store and later a businessman, and Rosa Crawford. He attended public schools and, ambitious to become an artist, took classes at the Chicago Art Institute in 1899 and 1900. Returning to Fort Dodge, he was hired as editor of the ...


Kendall, Amos (1789-1869), journalist, postmaster general, and business agent  

Donald B. Cole

Kendall, Amos (16 August 1789–12 November 1869), journalist, postmaster general, and business agent, was born in Dunstable, Massachusetts, the son of Zebedee Kendall and Molly Dakin, farmers. Kendall spent his early years working on the family farm under the supervision of his father, a deacon in the Congregational church. After attending academies in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, and Groton, Massachusetts, he enrolled in 1807 at Dartmouth College. Frail and unaccustomed to independence, Kendall had difficulty adjusting to college life, especially because many of his classmates had moral standards much less strict than his own and because he had to drop out each winter to earn money by teaching school. But he adapted, made friends, and was so intelligent and hardworking that when he graduated in 1811 he ranked first in his class. Uncertain about his future, he spent the next few years in Groton studying law under Republican congressman William M. Richardson, who later became chief justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court....


Cover Kendall, Amos (1789-1869)
Amos Kendall. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109899).


Keyes, Charles Rollin (1864-1942), geologist, mining engineer, and publisher  

Ralph L. Langenheim

Keyes, Charles Rollin (26 December 1864–18 May 1942), geologist, mining engineer, and publisher, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Calvin Webb Keyes, a wealthy merchant and entrepreneur, and Julia Baird Davis. Keyes entered the State University of Iowa in 1883, securing his bachelor’s degree in 1887 and, after leaving the campus, his A.M. in 1890....


Kieran, John Francis (1892-1981), sports writer, radio personality, and naturalist  

Richard Harmond

Kieran, John Francis (02 August 1892–10 December 1981), sports writer, radio personality, and naturalist, was born in the Bronx, New York City, the son of James Michael Kieran, an educator, and Kate Donahue. He grew up in a book-oriented home. His father was a public school principal who later became a professor of education at Hunter College and then president of that institution. His mother was a school teacher before her marriage who, said Kieran, “quoted the classics on the slightest provocation.”...