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Bailey, Sir Harold Walter (1899–1996), Indo-Iranian scholar and philologist, was born on 16 December 1899 at 54 Northgate Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, one of three sons of Frederick Charles Bailey, labourer, and his wife, Emma Jane, née Richardt. When he was ten his parents moved to ...

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Barnes, William (1801–1886), poet and philologist, was born on 22 February 1801, in a cob and thatch cottage, Rushay Farm, on Bagber Common, near Sturminster Newton, Dorset, the sixth of seven children of John Barnes (bap. 1762, d. 1846), and his wife, ...

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Bentley, Richard (1662–1742), philologist and classical scholar, was born on 27 January 1662 at his maternal grandparents' house at Oulton, Yorkshire, the second child of Thomas Bentley (bap. 1637, d. 1675), a yeoman farmer, and his wife, Sarah (bap. 1642, d...

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Best, Richard Irvine (1872–1959), philologist and bibliographer, was born at 3 Bishop Street, Derry, on 17 January 1872, the son of Henry Best (who was of English descent), an excise officer, and his wife, Margaret Jane Irvine. He was educated at Foyle College...

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Child, Francis James (1825–1896), philologist and ballad scholar, was born on 1 February 1825 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Joseph Child (1792–1879), sailmaker, and his wife, Alice, née James (d. 1839?). He attended Boston's public schools before he was prepared for college at the Latin school there at the insistence and expense of its principal, ...

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Craigie, Sir William Alexander (1867–1957), lexicographer and philologist, was born in Dundee on 13 August 1867, the youngest son of James Craigie, jobbing gardener, and his wife, Christina Gow. His native speech was thus the lowland Scots of Forfarshire, and during his childhood he learned some Gaelic from his maternal grandfather and later his eldest brother. About the age of twelve he began reading the early Scottish writers. From the headmaster of his school—the ...

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Dillon, Emile Joseph [pseud. E. B. Lanin] (1854–1933), journalist and philologist, was born in Dublin on 21 March 1854, the second son of Michael Dillon, a foundry and hardware merchant, and his wife, Mary Byrne. In accord with his father's wishes, Dillon...

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Elphinston, James (1721–1809), educationist and advocate of spelling reform, was born on 6 December 1721 in Edinburgh, the son of William Elphinston, an Episcopalian minister, and his wife, Rachel Honeyman (d. 1750), niece of the bishop of Orkney. He was educated at the high school and at the university in ...

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R. M. Dawkins

revised by John D. Pickles

Giles, Peter (1860–1935), philologist and college head, was born at Strichen in the district of Buchan, Aberdeenshire, on 20 October 1860, the eldest son of Peter Giles (d. c.1865), a factor, and his wife, Margaret Eddie Brown (d. 1905), who on her mother's side was of highland descent from ...

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Grierson, Sir George Abraham (1851–1941), administrator in India and philologist, was born at Glenageary, co. Dublin, on 7 January 1851, the eldest son of George Abraham Grierson LLD, printer to the queen in Dublin, and his wife, Isabella, daughter of Henry Ruxton RN...

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Guest, Edwin (1800–1880), historian and philologist, descended from a family settled at King's Norton, Worcestershire, was born on 10 September 1800, the only surviving son of Benjamin Guest (d. 1843), a prosperous merchant in Birmingham, and his wife, Sarah (d. 1807)...

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Müller, Friedrich Max (1823–1900), Sanskritist and philologist, was born on 6 December 1823 in Dessau, the capital of the small duchy of Anhalt-Dessau in Germany, the only son of the popular lyric poet Willhelm Müller (1794–1827), and his wife, Adelheid (1799?–1883), elder daughter of ...

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Roget, Peter Mark (1779–1869), physician and philologist, was born in Broad Street, Soho, London, on 18 January 1779. He was the only son of John Roget (d. 1783), a native of Geneva and pastor of the French protestant church in Threadneedle Street, London...

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Sharpe, Daniel (1806–1856), geologist and philologist, was born on 6 April 1806 at Nottingham Place, Marylebone, Middlesex, the youngest son of Sutton Sharpe (1756–1806), brewer, and his second wife, Maria (d. 1806), sister of the poet Samuel Rogers (1783–1855). Orphaned before his first birthday (his mother died on 22 April 1806, his father on 26 September), he was looked after in ...

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Kenneth Sisam

revised by Charlotte Brewer

Skeat, Walter William (1835–1912), philologist, was born at Mount Street, Park Lane, London, on 21 November 1835, the second son of William Skeat and his wife, Sarah Bluck. He attended King's College School, Strand, where Thomas Oswald Cockayne, one of the best Anglo-Saxon scholars of the time, was his form-master. From there he went to ...

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Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel (1892–1973), writer and philologist, was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, the elder son of Arthur Reuel Tolkien (1857–1896) and his wife, Mabel (1870–1904), daughter of John Suffield. His father and mother both came from ...

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Tooke, John Horne [formerly John Horne] (1736–1812), radical and philologist, was born on 25 June 1736 in Newport Street, Westminster, the third of the seven children and the youngest son of John Horne, a prosperous poulterer, and Elizabeth, née Horne. He was baptized ...

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Wright, Joseph (1855–1930), philologist and dialectologist, was born on 31 October 1855 at Park Hill, Thackley, in the township of Idle, near Bradford, the son of Dufton Wright (1817/18–1866), a woollen cloth weaver and quarryman, and his wife, Sarah Ann Atkinson. His place of birth explained his later whimsical comment: 'I've been an idle man all my life, and shall remain an idle man till I die' (...