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Banks, Joseph Ambrose [Joe] (1920–2005), sociologist and historian, was born at 66 Montague Road, Edmonton, Middlesex, on 5 January 1920, the only child of Joseph William Banks, a boot and shoe dealer who later became a master tailor, and his wife, Louisa Mary Ann, ...

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Beales, Hugh Lancelot (1889–1988), economist and social historian, born at Sedbergh, Yorkshire, on 18 February 1889, was the son of William Beales, a Wesleyan Methodist minister, and his wife, Zaida Mary Ann Elizabeth Scantlebury Green. He grew up in a radical political household. He was sent to the ...

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Florence Eveleen Eleanore Bell, Lady Bell (1851–1930) by unknown photographer courtesy of Middlesbrough Libraries & Information

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Bell [née Olliffe], Florence Eveleen Eleanore, Lady Bell (1851–1930), author, social investigator, and playwright, was born on 9 September 1851 at 2 rue St Florentin, Paris, the youngest of the four children of Sir Joseph Olliffe (1808–1869), physician to the British embassy in ...

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Charles Booth (1840–1916) by George Frederic Watts, c. 1901 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Booth, Charles (1840–1916), shipowner and social investigator, was born on 30 March 1840 at 27 Bedford North Street, Liverpool. He was the third son of Charles Booth (1799–1860), a prosperous corn merchant, and his first wife, Emily Fletcher (1803–1853). Both his parents were Unitarians, and had wide connections among the commercial, dissenting, and philanthropic ‘aristocracy’ of ...

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Finley, Sir Moses I. (1912–1986), historian and sociologist, was born in New York on 20 May 1912, the eldest in the family of three sons and one daughter of Nathan Finkelstein, mechanical engineer, of New York, and his wife, Anna Katzenellenbogen. In October 1946 he followed his brothers and changed his name to ...

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Gellner, Ernest André (1925–1995), social philosopher and anthropologist, was born on 9 December 1925 in Paris, the elder of two children of Jewish parents, Rudolf Gellner (1897–1987), a lawyer, and his wife, Anna, née Fantl (1894–1954), both from Czechoslovakia. The family returned to ...

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Ernest André Gellner (1925–1995) by Geoff Howard, 1979 Geoff Howard / Camera Press, London

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Harrisson, Tom Harnett (1911–1976), ornithologist, museum curator, and co-founder of the Mass-Observation social survey project, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 26 September 1911, the elder of the two children of Brigadier-General Geoffry Harnett Harrisson (1881–1939) and his wife, Marie Ellen (Doll; 1886–1961)...

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Hobhouse, Leonard Trelawny (1864–1929), social philosopher and journalist, was born on 8 September 1864 at St Ive, near Liskeard, Cornwall, the youngest of the seven children of the Revd Reginald Hobhouse (1818–1895), rector of St Ive for fifty years and archdeacon of Bodmin...

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Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse (1864–1929) by Elliott & Fry British Library of Political and Economic Science

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MacRae, Donald Gunn (1921–1997), sociologist, was born on 20 April 1921 at 22 Westfield Street, Cathcart, Glasgow, the only child of Donald MacRae (1884–1964), an engineer at a flour mill, and his wife, Elizabeth Maud, née Gunn (1888–1971), a teacher. He spent much of his childhood at the homes of his grandparents. His paternal grandfather farmed in ...

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Thomas Humphrey Marshall (1893–1981) by Howard Coster, 1944 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Marshall, Thomas Humphrey (1893–1981), sociologist, was born in fashionable Bloomsbury, in London, on 19 December 1893. He was the second son and the fourth of six children of a successful architect, William Cecil Marshall, and his wife, Margaret, the daughter of Archdeacon J. F. Lloyd...

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McGregor, Oliver Ross, Baron McGregor of Durris (1921–1997), social scientist and public servant, was born at Durris, Kincardineshire, on 25 August 1921, the only child of William McGregor, farmer, and his wife, Anne Olivia, née Ross. He was educated at Worksop College, Aberdeen University...

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Schreiner, Olive Emilie Albertina (1855–1920), author and social theorist, was born on 24 March 1855 at Wittebergen Wesleyan mission station, on the border of Basutoland, Cape Colony, the ninth of the twelve children of Rebecca Lyndall (1818–1903) of London and her husband, Gottlob Schreiner (1814–1876)...

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Spencer, Herbert (1820–1903), philosopher, social theorist, and sociologist, was born at 12 Exeter Road, Derby, on 27 April 1820. He was the eldest son of (William) George Spencer (bap. 1790, d. 1866), the proprietor and headmaster of a small private school, and his wife, ...

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Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) by unknown photographer, c. 1898 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Edvard Alexander Westermarck (1862–1939) by M. E., 1913 by courtesy of London School of Economics