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Abbott, George (1604–1649), writer and politician, was born in 1604 and baptized on 13 March at St Mary Bishophill Junior, York, the son of George Abbott (d. 1607) of York and Joan, the daughter of Aleyn Penkeston. Both Abbott's father and grandfather ...

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Acton, Marion Jean Catherine [Jeanie] Adams- [formerly Jeanie Hering] (1846–1928), writer, was born Marion Hamilton on 21 June 1846, in Brodick, Isle of Arran, Scotland, the daughter of Edith Hamilton and an unidentified Scottish nobleman. Before the age of four she was adopted by ...

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Adam [née King], Ruth Augusta (1907–1977), writer and feminist, was born on 14 December 1907 at the vicarage in Arnold, a mining parish in Nottinghamshire, the second of the four children of the Revd Rupert William King (1874–1955), a Church of England...

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Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001), writer, was born on 11 March 1952 at the maternity hospital in Cambridge, the son of Christopher Douglas Adams (d. 1985) and his wife, Janet Dora Sydney, née Donovan.

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Douglas Noël Adams (1952–2001) by Brian Griffin, 1986 © Brian Griffin; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Adams, Francis William Lauderdale (1862–1893), writer, was born on 27 September 1862 at Valletta in Malta. The grandson of the Scottish classicist and medical scholar Francis Adams (1796–1861), he was the first of two sons born to Andrew Leith Adams (1827–1882), army surgeon and natural historian, and his wife, ...

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Addison, Joseph (1672–1719), writer and politician, was born on 1 May 1672 at the rectory, Milston, a hamlet north of Amesbury in Wiltshire, the son of Lancelot Addison (1632–1703) and his wife, Jane, née Gulston (c.1635?–1684). His father was at that time vicar of ...

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Ainger, Alfred [pseud. Doubleday] (1837–1904), writer and Church of England clergyman, born at 10 Doughty Street, London, on 9 February 1837, was the youngest of the four children of Alfred Ainger (1797–1859) and his first wife, Marianne Jagger (d. 1839) of ...

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Alfred Ainger (1837–1904) by George Du Maurier, c. 1881 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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T. F. Henderson

revised by Douglas Brown

Ainslie, Robert (1766–1838), writer, was born on 13 January 1766, at Berrywell, near Duns, Berwickshire, the son of Robert Ainslie (1734–1795), factor to Lord Douglas, and his wife, Catharine Whitelaw. His younger brother was Sir Whitelaw Ainslie (1767–1837). In 1787, while apprenticed to ...

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Albert, Harold [formerly Harold Albert Kemp; pseud. Helen Cathcart] (1909–1997), author and journalist, was born on 15 April 1909 at 48 Marsala Road, Lewisham, the son of Albert William Kemp, builder, and his wife, Mabel, the daughter of Frederick Read, dramatic reciter. He was educated at ...

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Alcock [née Cumberland], Mary (1741?–1798), writer, was the youngest of four children of Bishop Denison Cumberland (1705/6–1774) and Joanna Bentley (1704/5–1775), daughter of Dr Richard Bentley, classical scholar and master of Trinity College, Cambridge. The third of three daughters, and the sister of ...

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Allfrey, Phyllis Byam Shand (1908–1986), author and politician, was born in Roseau, Dominica, British West Indies, on 24 October 1908, the second daughter of Francis Byam Shand (b. 1879), a lawyer who had come to Dominica from England in the early 1900s, and ...

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Allingham, Margery Louise (1904–1966), writer, was born on 20 May 1904 in Ealing, London. She was the eldest of three children of the journalist and writer Herbert John Allingham (1867–1936), editor of the London Journal, and his wife, Emily Jane, née Hughes (1879–1960)...

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Margery Louise Allingham (1904–1966) by Howard Coster, 1936 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Charles Freer Andrews (1871–1940) by Howard Coster, 1935 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Andrews, Charles Freer (1871–1940), author and campaigner for Indian independence, was born at Newcastle upon Tyne on 12 February 1871, the second son of John Edwin Andrews, minister in the Catholic Apostolic (or Irvingite) church, and his second wife, Mary Charlotte Cartwright (1840–1914)...

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Andrews [née Fairfield], Dame Cicily Isabel [pseud. Rebecca West] (1892–1983), writer, critic, and journalist, was born on 21 December 1892 at 28 Burlington Road, Westbourne Park, London, the youngest of three children (all daughters) of Charles Fairfield (1843–1906) and his wife, ...

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Dame Cicily Isabel Andrews [Rebecca West] (1892–1983) by Wyndham Lewis, 1932 © Estate of Mrs G. A. Wyndham Lewis / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Andrews, William Eusebius (1773–1837), writer and publisher, was born at Norwich on 15 December 1773, the son of John (d. c.1796) and Helen Andrews (c.1729–1823), who were converts to Roman Catholicism. He began work as a printer's apprentice on the ...