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Backhouse, William (1593–1662), alchemist and antiquary, was born on 17 January 1593, probably at Swallowfield, Berkshire, the youngest of the four sons of Samuel Backhouse (d. 1626), landowner, and his wife, Elisabeth (d. 1630), daughter of John Borlase of Little Marlow...

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Barrett, Francis (fl. 1780–1814), writer on magic and demonologist, described himself as a 'Professor of Chemistry, Natural and Occult Philosophy, the Cabala, etc.' (Barrett, Magus). His dates of birth and death, and his antecedents, are unknown. A dated manuscript translation of part of ...

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Bell, Vernon Cecil Frederick (1922–2004), founder of the British karate movement, was born on 9 October 1922 at 8 Empress Avenue, Ilford, Essex, the only child of Leonard Cecil Bell (1895–1976), civil servant, and his wife, Elsie May, née Sapsworth (1897–1977). He was educated at ...

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Burges, William (1827–1881), architect and designer, was born on 2 December 1827, the eldest son of Elizabeth Green (d. 1855) and Alfred Burges (d. 1886), marine engineer. He was educated at King's College School, London, from 1839; there his near contemporaries included ...

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William Burges (1827–1881) after Henry van der Weyde © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Coburn, Alvin Langdon (1882–1966), photographer and mystic, was born on 11 June 1882 at 134 East Springfield Street, Boston, Massachusetts, the only child of James Alvin Coburn (1849–1891), manufacturer of Coburn and Whitman shirts, and his wife, Fannie E. Howe (d. 1928)...

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Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882–1966) self-portrait, 1908 [with a copper-plate printing press] © Alvin Langdon Coburn

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Dee, Arthur (1579–1651), physician and writer on alchemy, was born on 13 July 1579 at Mortlake, Surrey, the eldest son of the mathematician and astrologer John Dee (1527–1609) and his second wife, Jane (1555–1605), daughter of Bartholomew Fromonds or Fromond. From 1583 until 1589 he accompanied his father on his travels to ...

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Richard Garnett

revised by Zoë Lawson

Harland, John (1806–1868), journalist and antiquary, was born at Hull on 27 May 1806, the eldest child of John Harland and his wife, Mary, the daughter of John Breasley of Selby. He was apprenticed to Messrs Allanson and Sydney, the proprietors of the ...

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Harriott, (Arthurlin) Joseph [Joe] (1928–1973), saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, was born on 15 July 1928 in Linstead, St Catherine, Jamaica, the first son and the eldest of the three children of Raphael Garfield Harriott, a professional gambler, and Muriel Scarlet or Scarlett (...