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Astor [née Langhorne], Nancy Witcher, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964), society hostess and politician, was born at Danville, Virginia, on 19 May 1879, the eighth child in a family of eleven. Her father, Chiswell Dabney Langhorne (1843–1919), a veteran of the American Civil War, had made his fortune in railway construction and bought an estate at ...

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Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964) by George Charles Beresford, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Auchmuty, Sir Samuel (1758–1822), army officer, was born on 22 June 1758 at New York city, the second son of Dr Samuel Auchmuty (1722–1777), rector of Trinity Church, New York, and Mary Tucker, née Nicholls. The family were of Scottish origin, Dr Auchmuty's...

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Auden, Wystan Hugh (1907–1973), poet and writer, was born at 54 Bootham, York, on 21 February 1907, the youngest of three children (all sons) of George Augustus Auden (1872–1957), general practitioner, and his wife, Constance Rosalie, née Bicknell (1869–1941). His parents were devout high Anglicans, especially his mother, who had trained as a missionary nurse before meeting ...

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Wystan Hugh Auden (1907–1973) by Cecil Beaton, 1953 © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby's; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bateman [née Cowell], Sidney Frances (1823–1881), actress and playwright, was born in New York on 29 March 1823. Her father was Joseph Leathley Cowell (1792–1863), an English-born low comedian, who settled in the United States in 1821 and there enjoyed success as an actor and circus manager. Her mother, ...

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Blackwell, Elizabeth (1821–1910), physician, was born on 3 February 1821 at Counterslip Street, Bristol, the third daughter and the third of nine children of Samuel Blackwell (c.1790–1838), sugar refiner, and his wife, Hannah, daughter of Bristol jewellers (husband and wife) named ...

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Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) by Swaine © Wellcome Library, London

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Booth, Junius Brutus (1796–1852), actor, was born on 1 May 1796 near Tottenham Court Road, London, eldest of the three children of Richard Booth, a lawyer, and Jane Elizabeth Game. He had a brother who died in childhood and a sister. His mother claimed kinship with the radical politician ...

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Cary, Archibald (1721–1787), revolutionary politician in America, was born in Williamsburg, Virginia, the son of Henry Cary (1675?–1749) and his second wife, Anne Edwards of Surry county (d. in or before 1741). The Virginia Carys were relatives of the merchant Carys of ...