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Alexander, Sir Kenneth John Wilson [Ken] (1922–2001), economist, university administrator, and public servant, was born on 14 March 1922 at 12 Kilmaurs Terrace, Edinburgh, the only son of William Wilson Alexander (1888–1930), lawyer, and his wife, Mary Logan Grahame, née Wilson (1888–1975), tailoress. He won a scholarship to ...

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Bull, Hedley Norman (1932–1985), scholar of international relations, was born on 10 June 1932 in Englewood Hospital, Burwood, Sydney, New South Wales, the third and youngest child of (Joseph) Norman Bull (1891–1972), insurance broker, and his wife, Doris Annie, née Hordern (1893–1967), whose family had developed a chain of department stores in ...

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Foster, Sir Michael (1836–1907), physiologist and politician, was born in Huntingdon on 8 March 1836, the eldest child of the three sons and seven daughters of Michael Foster (1810–1880) and his wife, Mercy Cooper. Foster was the descendant of a line of nonconformist farmers in ...

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Sir Michael Foster (1836–1907) by John Collier, 1907 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Laski, Harold Joseph (1893–1950), political theorist, was born on 30 June 1893 at Smedley House, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, the second of the three children of Nathan Laski (1863–1941), a successful cotton exporter, and his wife, Sarah Frankenstein (1869–1945). Nathan was the most prominent figure in the ...

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Harold Joseph Laski (1893–1950) by Elliott & Fry © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Leacock, Stephen Butler (1869–1944), university teacher and humorist, was born on 30 December 1869 in Swanmore, near Winchester, Hampshire, the third of the eleven children of (Walter) Peter Leacock (1848–1940), asphalt contractor, and Agnes Emma (1844–1934), daughter of the Revd Stephen Butler. Both sides of the family were well-to-do. ...

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Leavis [née Roth], Queenie Dorothy (1906–1981), literary scholar, was born on 7 December 1906 at 79 Silver Street, Edmonton, Middlesex, the second of the three children of Morris Roth (1876–1953), hosier, and afterwards draper, and Jane Davis (1876–1940). Her parents were observant Jews. She was educated at ...

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Mackintosh, John Pitcairn (1929–1978), political scientist and politician, was born in Simla, India, on 24 August 1929, the elder of two brothers. He spent his first eleven years in British India where his mother, Mary Victoria Pitcairn, taught at a teacher training college. Her husband, ...

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Raper, Robert William (1842–1915), college teacher and founder of university careers service, was born at Llanwenarth, Monmouthshire, on 9 March 1842, the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel Timothy Raper (1790?–1862), of the 19th foot regiment, and his wife, Christian Mary (d. 1858), daughter of ...

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Shields, Cuthbert [formerly Robert Laing] (1840–1908), historian and eccentric, was born on 21 March 1840 in George Street, North Shields, Northumberland, the first child of Robert Laing, master mariner, and his wife, Charlotte Sophia, daughter of Dr Charles Coleman of Maidstone, Kent...

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Skeffington, Owen Lancelot Sheehy- (1909–1970), French scholar and politician, was born on 19 May 1909 in hospital at 122 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, the only child of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (1878–1916), journalist, and Johanna Mary, known as Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington (1877–1946), lecturer and journalist, eldest daughter of ...

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Verrall [née Merrifield], Margaret de Gaudrion (1857–1916), classicist and parapsychologist, was born on 21 December 1857 at 4 Dorset Gardens, Brighton, the first of two daughters of Frederic Merrifield (1831–1924), barrister, and Maria Angélique de Gaudrion (1824/5–1894).

Margaret Merrifield went originally to ...

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Barbara Frances Wootton, Baroness Wootton of Abinger (1897–1988) by Walter Bird, 1964 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wootton [née Adam], Barbara Frances, Baroness Wootton of Abinger (1897–1988), economist and social scientist, was born on 14 April 1897 in Cambridge, the only daughter and youngest of three children of James Adam (1860–1907), tutor at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and his wife, ...