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Cowley, Sir Arthur Ernest (1861–1931), orientalist and librarian, was born on 13 December 1861 at 3 South Hill, Forest Hill, Sydenham, the fourth son among the seventeen children of Frederick Thomas Cowley (1822–1881), customs house agent, and his wife, Louisa Emily, née Boddy (1830–1912)...

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Eiríkur Magnússon (1833–1913) by Hay, 1867 National Museum of Iceland

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Magnússon, Eiríkur (1833–1913), librarian and Icelandic scholar, was born in the parsonage of Berufjörður in east Iceland on 1 February 1833, the second son and third child of the Revd Magnús Bergsson (1799–1892), then curate of Berufjörður, and his wife, Vilborg Eiríksdóttir (1804–1862)...

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Martineau, Russell (1831–1898), Hebraist and librarian, was born on 18 January 1831 in Dublin, the eldest son of James Martineau (1805–1900), Unitarian minister, and Helen (1804–1877), eldest daughter of Edward Higginson. He was educated at home and in Germany before entering University College, London...

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Maurice, Thomas (1754–1824), oriental scholar and librarian, was born at Hertford on 25 September 1754, and claimed descent from an ancient Welsh family. His father, Thomas, on retiring from West Indian commerce, opened an academy at Clapham, and married an elderly lady with some property. In 1753, shortly after the death of his first wife, ...

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Ralston, William Ralston Shedden- (1828–1889), librarian, folklorist, and Russian scholar, was born on 4 April 1828 in York Terrace, Regent's Park, London, the only son of William Patrick Ralston Shedden (1794–1880), merchant of Calcutta, and his wife, Frances Sophia, daughter of William Browne...

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William Ralston Shedden- Ralston (1828–1889) by I. S.? Panov (after unknown artist, c. 1875) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Oliver Elton

revised by Angus Fraser

Sampson, John (1862–1931), librarian and Romani scholar, was born on 25 February 1862 at Schull, co. Cork, the eldest son and third of the six children of James Sampson (1813–1871), a chemist and mining engineer of Cornish stock, and his wife, Sarah Anne Macdermott (1829–1907)...

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Shackleton, Robert (1919–1986), French scholar and librarian, was born in Todmorden, Yorkshire, on 25 November 1919, the eldest in the family of two sons and one daughter of (Robert William) Albert Shackleton, shoemaker, and his wife, Emily Sunderland. He attended Broomfield Boys' School...

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Simmons, John Simon Gabriel (1915–2005), librarian and Slavonic scholar, was born on 8 July 1915 at 2 Duchess Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, the second of three children and elder son of Bernard Rintel Simmons (1868–1956), manufacturing jeweller, and his wife, Johanna, née Selig (1886–1940)...

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Wanley, Humfrey (1672–1726), Old English scholar and librarian, was born on 21 March 1672 at the Vicarage House adjoining Jesus Hall, Coventry, the youngest of five children of Nathaniel Wanley (1632/3–1680), vicar of Holy Trinity, Coventry (1662), and his wife, Ellen Burton (1632–1719)...

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Humfrey Wanley (1672–1726) by Thomas Hill, 1722 © Copyright The British Museum

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Woide, Charles Godfrey (1725–1790), oriental scholar and librarian, was born in Poland on 4 July 1725. He was educated at the universities of Frankfurt an der Oder and Leiden and became a minister of the Socinian church at Lissa, in Poland, near the border of ...