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Ball, Francis Elrington (1863–1928), author and historian, born on 18 July 1863 at Portmarnock, co. Dublin, was the third son of John Thomas Ball (1815–1898), lord chancellor of Ireland from 1875 to 1880, and his wife, Catherine (d. 1887), daughter of the ...

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Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) by George Frederic Watts, 1868 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carlyle, Thomas (1795–1881), author, biographer, and historian, was born on 4 December 1795 in the Arched House, Ecclefechan, Annandale, Dumfriesshire. He was the eldest son of James Carlyle (1757–1832), a hard-working stonemason whose father, Thomas (1722–1806), the husband of Mary Gillespie (1727–1797), had been a carpenter and tenant farmer; beyond that, the ...

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Henderson, Ebenezer, the younger (1809–1879), author and historian, was born on 25 February 1809 at Bridge Street, Dunfermline, ninth of the ten children of John Henderson (1770–1854), clockmaker, and Janet Cooper (1766–1846). His uncle was Ebenezer Henderson, the elder (1784–1858), missionary and theologian. In his early years he learned his father's trade, but gave his real strength to scientific pursuits, producing by 1827 an orrery and an astronomical clock, both of which were much admired by his contemporaries. Between 1829 and 1863 he lived in ...

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Hourani, Albert Habib (1915–1993), historian and Arabist, was born on 31 March 1915 in Didsbury, south Manchester, the fifth of the six children of Fadlo Hourani (1871–1960), a textile exporter, and his wife, Soumaiya (1881–1943), daughter of the Revd Yuakim and Khazma Racy...

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Thomas May (b. in or after 1596, d. 1650) by unknown engraver, pubd 1655 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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May, Thomas (b. in or after 1596, d. 1650), writer and historian, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas May (d. 1616) of Mayfield, Sussex, and Barbara (d. 1601/02), the daughter of Edward Rich of Horndon on the Hill, Essex. His grandfather, ...

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O'Brien, Conor Cruise (1917–2008), diplomatist, politician, and author, was born Donal Conor David Dermod Donat Cruise O'Brien at 44 Leinster Road, Dublin, on 3 November 1917, the son of Francis Cruise O'Brien (d. 1927), journalist, and his wife, Kathleen (Katherine), née Sheehy (...

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Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917–2008) by unknown photographer, 1968 Getty Images

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Origo [née Cutting], Dame Iris Margaret (1902–1988), writer and historian, was born on 15 August 1902 at Beechwood Cottage, Birdlip, Gloucestershire, the only child of the American-born William Bayard Cutting (1878–1910) and his wife, Lady Sybil Marjorie Cuffe (1879–1943). Iris's father was a member of a prosperous and philanthropic family of ...

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Cyril Northcote Parkinson (1909–1993) by Godfrey Argent, 1969 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Parkinson, Cyril Northcote (1909–1993), writer and historian, was born on 30 July 1909 at 45 Galgate, Barnard Castle, co. Durham, the younger son of (William) Edward Parkinson (1871–1927), art master at the North East county school, and his wife, Rose Emily Mary, née...

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Robert Roberts (1905–1974) by unknown photographer Salford Local History Library

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Roberts, Robert (1905–1974), teacher and writer, was born on 15 June 1905 at 1 Waterloo Street, Salford, Lancashire, the fourth of the seven children of Robert Roberts (b. 1872?), journeyman engineer, and his wife, Jane Elizabeth Jones (known as Jennie), corner shopkeeper. He attended ...

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Edward John Thompson (1886–1946) by Howard Coster, 1940–46 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thompson, Edward John (1886–1946), teacher and writer, was born on 9 April 1886 at Hazel Grove, Stockport, the eldest son of John Moses Thompson (1854–1894), from near Penrith, and his wife, Elizabeth Penney (1851–1928), both Wesleyan missionaries to south India. Mission compounds and ...

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Warren, Mercy Otis (1728–1814), writer and historian in America, was born on 25 September 1728 in West Barnstable, Massachusetts, the third of the thirteen children of James Otis (1702–1778), merchant and politician, and his wife, Mary Allyne (1702–1767) of Connecticut. Mercy did not receive any formal schooling, but when the ...