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Armour, Jean (1765–1834), wife of Robert Burns and subject of poetry, was born in Mauchline, Ayrshire, on 25 February 1765, the second of the eleven children of James Armour and his wife, Mary Smith. The family lived in Mauchline's Cowgate. James Armour was a master mason whose work included ...

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Jean Armour (1765–1834) by J. A. Gilfillan, 1822 Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Dunsterville, Lionel Charles (1865–1946), army officer and literary prototype, was born on 9 November 1865 in Lausanne, Switzerland, the son of Lieutenant-General Lionel D'Arcy Dunsterville (1830–1912) of the Indian army and his wife, Susan Ellen (1835–1875). The family moved to Jersey and then to the ...

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Lionel Charles Dunsterville (1865–1946) by George Charles Beresford, 1923 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hargreaves [née Liddell], Alice Pleasance (1852–1934), prototype of the character Alice, was made famous by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1872). She was the second daughter of Henry George Liddell (1811–1898)...

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Alice Pleasance Hargreaves (1852–1934) by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 1858 [The Beggar-Maid] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Selkirk, Alexander (1676–1721), mariner, castaway, and probable source of inspiration for the character Robinson Crusoe, was born in Lower Largo, Fife, the seventh son of John Selcraig, shoemaker, and Euphan Mackie. He received schooling in Largo. His wilful nature manifested itself at an early age in his determination to go to sea against his father's wishes. In August 1695 a summons by the kirk session for ‘indecent carriage’ in church precipitated his departure. He had left for sea by 27 August, before he could be dealt with, and he did not reappear in ...

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Shee, George Archer- (1895–1914), literary prototype, was born on 6 May 1895 at the Bank of England, Broad Street, Bristol, the elder child and only son of Martin Archer-Shee (1846–1913), banker, and his second wife, Helen Treloar. By his father's first marriage, to ...

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Wallinger, Sir John Arnold (1869–1931), intelligence officer and literary prototype, was born on 25 October 1869 at Poona, India, the son of William H. Arnold Wallinger, deputy conservator of forests in the Indian forest service, and his wife, Anne Jane. He had two brothers and two sisters....