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Mary Louisa Armitt (1851–1911) by Sophia Armitt The Armitt Trust Collection

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Armitt, Mary Louisa (1851–1911), author and founder of the Armitt Library, Ambleside, was born at 19 Melbourne Terrace, Salford, Lancashire, on 24 September 1851. She was the youngest of three daughters of William Armitt (1815–1867), an impecunious assistant overseer who valued learning, and his wife, ...

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Sir Thomas Bodley (1545–1613) by unknown artist © Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

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Bodley, Sir Thomas (1545–1613), scholar, diplomat, and founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, was born on 2 March 1545 in a house on the corner of High Street and Gandy Street, Exeter, the eldest son of John Bodley (c. 1520–1591), religious radical and publisher, of ...

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Cranston, Andrew (d. 1708), creator of a public library, was born in the late 1650s in Scotland to unknown parents. He was perhaps connected to the lords Cranstoun, for the descendants of his only known brother, James, assumed the same coat of arms. There is a volume in his library inscribed to him from ...

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Gordon Goodwin

revised by David Boyd Haycock

Edwards, Arthur (d. 1743), benefactor, was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 17 November 1725. Nothing is known of his parentage and upbringing, though his will refers to 'my brothers and sisters'. Little is known about his life, other than that he reached the rank of first major of the second troop of ...

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Falcke, Isaac (1819–1909), art collector and benefactor, was born in Great Yarmouth, one of some twenty children of Jacob Falcke. His father moved to London soon after Isaac's birth and started a business as an art dealer in Oxford Street; in due course he was joined by his sons ...

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Richard Fitzwilliam, seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816) by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1764 Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK; photograph Bridgeman Art Library

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Fitzwilliam, Richard, seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816), benefactor and musical antiquary, was born on 1 August 1745 at Richmond, Surrey, the eldest son of Richard Fitzwilliam, sixth Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (d. 1776), and Catherine (c.1710–1786), eldest daughter and coheir of the Dutch-born merchant and political economist ...

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Kirkwood, James (b. c. 1650, d. in or after 1709), clergyman and advocate of parochial libraries, was born in or near Dunbar. His schooling took place there, and from 1666 he studied at Edinburgh University, where he graduated MA in 1670. Scott's Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae...

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Marsh, John Fitchett (1818–1880), promoter of municipal libraries and antiquary, was the son of a solicitor of Wigan, Lancashire, John Marsh, and his wife, Ann. He was born at Wigan on 24 October 1818, and was educated at Warrington grammar school under the ...

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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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Mudie, Charles Edward (1818–1890), founder of a circulating library, was born on 18 October 1818 at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, the youngest son of Thomas Mudie, a Scottish newspaper agent, bookseller, stationer, and lending librarian. Details of Charles Mudie's education are not known, although he is reported as describing it as '...

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Rylands [née Tennant], Enriqueta Augustina (1843–1908), founder of the John Rylands Library, Manchester, was born on 31 May 1843 in Havana, Cuba, one of the five children of Stephen Cattley Tennant (1800–1848), a partner in a Liverpool mercantile firm, and Juana Camila Dalcour (1818–1855)...

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Saxl, Friedrich [Fritz] (1890–1948), art historian and a founder of the Warburg Institute, London, was born in Vienna, on 8 January 1890, the son of Ignaz Saxl, a distinguished lawyer who collaborated in the formation of the new Austrian civil code, and his wife, ...

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James Lewis Smithson (1764–1829) by Henri-Joseph Johns, 1816 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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Smithson [formerly Macie], James Lewis (1764–1829), mineralogist and benefactor, was born Jacques Louis Macie in Paris in early 1764, the illegitimate son of a long-term liaison between Hugh Percy (formerly Smithson), second earl and later first duke of Northumberland (bap. 1712, d. 1786)...