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Brass, William [Bill] (1921–1999), demographer and statistician, was born in Edinburgh on 5 September 1921, the only son and second of the three children of John Brass (1892–1962), engineer, and his wife, Margaret Tait, née Haig (1893–1968), dressmaker. Family circumstances were not easy: his father was gassed in the First World War and never fully recovered. Compulsory attendance at Presbyterian services during childhood had no enduring effect, although the other family commitment, to the ...

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Brownlee, John (1868–1927), public health officer, geneticist, and medical statistician, was born at Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, on 21 June 1868, the elder of the two sons of John Brownlee (1826–1899), Church of Scotland minister, and his wife, Mary, née Stevenson (1833–1894). He studied mathematics and natural philosophy at ...

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Cleland, James (1770–1840), statistician and civic administrator, was born in Glasgow on 28 January 1770 and spent his early career as a cabinet-maker in his father's firm. He was educated at the high school in Glasgow, and completed his training in London in the late 1780s. In 1791 he returned to ...

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Sir Robert Giffen (1837–1910) by Sydney Prior Hall, pubd 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Giffen, Sir Robert (1837–1910), economist and statistician, born on 22 July 1837 at Strathaven, Lanarkshire, was the younger son of Robert Giffen, a village grocer and an elder of the Presbyterian church, and his wife, Janet Wiseman. Giffen was educated at the village school. He read all the books he could find and, with his elder brother, ...

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Leone Levi (1821–1888) by Elliott & Fry, 1873 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Levi, Leone (1821–1888), jurist, political economist, and statistician, was born on 6 June 1821 in Ancona, later part of the kingdom of Italy. He came from a middle-class Jewish family. His father, Isaac, and his elder brother were both merchants. Leone received a practical, commercial education and began working for his brother at the age of fifteen. He travelled to ...

Article

Playfair, William (1759–1823), inventor of statistical graphs and writer on political economy, was born on 22 September 1759 at the manse, Liff, near Dundee, the fifth of eight children of the Revd James Playfair (1712–1772), of the parish of Liff and Benvie, and ...