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Austin, (Ethel) Winifred (1873–1918), pioneer of library services for blind people, was born on 7 October 1873 (not 1875, as her obituaries state) at 3 Lansdowne Place, Blackheath Hill, London, the tenth child of George Austin (1824/5–1887) and Mary Anne Jane Cullum Aldridge (...

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Backhouse, Janet Moira (1938–2004), scholar and curator of manuscripts, was born on 8 February 1938 at Marley, 90 Pickwick Road, Corsham, Wiltshire, the daughter of Joseph Holme Backhouse, cattle-food salesman, and his wife, Jessie, née Chivers; they also had a son, the sculptor ...

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Bennet [née Howe], Bridget (fl. 1668–1699), book collector, was daughter to John Grobham Howe (1625–1679) of Langar, Nottinghamshire, and Lady Annabella Scroope (d. 1704), illegitimate daughter of Emmanuel, first earl of Sunderland. Little is known about her early years. Her notebooks provide fleeting references to her activities: she was in ...

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Colwell, Eileen Hilda (1904–2002), librarian and storyteller, was born on 16 June 1904 at The Manse, Robin Hood's Bay, Fylingdales, near Whitby, Yorkshire, the second daughter and third of the four children of Richard Harold Colwell, a Methodist minister (d. 1954), and his wife, ...

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Currer, Frances Mary Richardson (1785–1861), book collector, was born on 3 March 1785 at Eshton Hall, near Gargrave, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. She was the posthumous daughter and sole heir of the Revd Henry Richardson (1758–1784) who, shortly before his death, took the name of ...

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James, Minnie Stewart Rhodes (1865–1903), librarian and author, was born on 7 July 1865 in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, the second daughter of three surviving children of Henry Haughton James (1827-1885), late commander in the Indian navy, and subsequently a coal merchant and maltster in ...

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Matthew [née Barlow; other married name Parker], Frances (1550/51–1629), benefactor, was the fourth daughter of William Barlow (d. 1568), at that time bishop of Bath and Wells, and Agatha Wellesbourne, a former nun; William Barlow (1544–1625) was her brother, and the merchant and explorer, ...

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Moss, Rosalind Louisa Beaufort (1890–1990), Egyptologist and bibliographer, was born on 21 September 1890 at Shrewsbury School, Shropshire, second of the six children of the Revd Henry Whitehead Moss (1841–1917), headmaster of the school, and his wife, Mary, elder daughter of the Revd W. A. Beaufort...

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Pierce, Kate Edith (1873–1966), librarian, was born at Green Lane Terrace, Kettering, Northamptonshire, on 30 November 1873, the elder of two daughters of Edward Pierce, attorney's clerk, and his wife, Emma Norah, née Mawby. After attending South College, a private school in Kettering...

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Smith, Lucy Toulmin (1838–1911), literary scholar and librarian, was born at Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on 21 November 1838, of English parents, Joshua Toulmin Smith (1816–1869), barrister, and his wife, Martha (d. 1887), daughter of William Jones Kendall. Her great-great-grandfather was the eminent Unitarian divine ...

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Ethel Stokes (1870–1944) by unknown photographer, c.1934 © reserved

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Stokes, Ethel (1870–1944), record agent and preserver of local archives, was born on 17 January 1870 at 89 Churchill Road, Holloway, London, the eldest child of Edwin James Stokes (1844–1916), accountant, and Fanny Augusta, née Baker (1846–1933), music teacher. Ethel's brother, Durham (1872–1957)...

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Wake, Joan (1884–1974), historian and archivist, was born on 29 February 1884 at Courteenhall, the Wake family home in Northamptonshire, the fifth of the six children of Sir Herwald Craufurd Wake, twelfth baronet (1852–1916), and his wife, Catherine St Aubyn (1852–1944). She was educated by governesses and tutors at ...

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Wallis, Helen Margaret (1924–1995), map librarian and historian of cartography, was born on 17 August 1924 at Dunkery, Park Road, Barnet, Hertfordshire, the daughter of Leonard Francis Wallis (1880–1965), a headmaster, and his wife, Mary McCulloch Jones (1884–1957), a teacher. She had a twin brother. After attending ...

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Wolfreston [née Middlemore], Frances (bap. 1607, d. 1677), book collector, was baptized on 13 September 1607 at King's Norton, Worcestershire, the eldest of twenty-two children of George Middlemore, of Hazelwell, and his wife, Frances, née Stanford. On 29 September 1631 she married ...

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Yates, Dora Esther (1879–1974), bibliographer and Romani scholar, was born on 26 November 1879 in Liverpool, seventh of eight children of George Samuel Yates (1834–1887), importer of leaf tobacco, and his wife, Hannah Keyser (1840–1934). Having taught herself to read English and Hebrew before she was five, she attended ...