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Florence Eveleen Eleanore Bell, Lady Bell (1851–1930) by unknown photographer courtesy of Middlesbrough Libraries & Information

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Bell [née Olliffe], Florence Eveleen Eleanore, Lady Bell (1851–1930), author, social investigator, and playwright, was born on 9 September 1851 at 2 rue St Florentin, Paris, the youngest of the four children of Sir Joseph Olliffe (1808–1869), physician to the British embassy in ...

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Ernest André Gellner (1925–1995) by Geoff Howard, 1979 Geoff Howard / Camera Press, London

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Gellner, Ernest André (1925–1995), social philosopher and anthropologist, was born on 9 December 1925 in Paris, the elder of two children of Jewish parents, Rudolf Gellner (1897–1987), a lawyer, and his wife, Anna, née Fantl (1894–1954), both from Czechoslovakia. The family returned to ...

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Harrisson, Tom Harnett (1911–1976), ornithologist, museum curator, and co-founder of the Mass-Observation social survey project, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 26 September 1911, the elder of the two children of Brigadier-General Geoffry Harnett Harrisson (1881–1939) and his wife, Marie Ellen (Doll; 1886–1961)...

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Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse (1864–1929) by Elliott & Fry British Library of Political and Economic Science

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Hobhouse, Leonard Trelawny (1864–1929), social philosopher and journalist, was born on 8 September 1864 at St Ive, near Liskeard, Cornwall, the youngest of the seven children of the Revd Reginald Hobhouse (1818–1895), rector of St Ive for fifty years and archdeacon of Bodmin...

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MacRae, Donald Gunn (1921–1997), sociologist, was born on 20 April 1921 at 22 Westfield Street, Cathcart, Glasgow, the only child of Donald MacRae (1884–1964), an engineer at a flour mill, and his wife, Elizabeth Maud, née Gunn (1888–1971), a teacher. He spent much of his childhood at the homes of his grandparents. His paternal grandfather farmed in ...

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Maker: Howard Coster

Thomas Humphrey Marshall (1893–1981) by Howard Coster, 1944 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Marshall, Thomas Humphrey (1893–1981), sociologist, was born in fashionable Bloomsbury, in London, on 19 December 1893. He was the second son and the fourth of six children of a successful architect, William Cecil Marshall, and his wife, Margaret, the daughter of Archdeacon J. F. Lloyd...

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McGregor, Oliver Ross, Baron McGregor of Durris (1921–1997), social scientist and public servant, was born at Durris, Kincardineshire, on 25 August 1921, the only child of William McGregor, farmer, and his wife, Anne Olivia, née Ross. He was educated at Worksop College, Aberdeen University...

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Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) by unknown photographer, c. 1898 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Spencer, Herbert (1820–1903), philosopher, social theorist, and sociologist, was born at 12 Exeter Road, Derby, on 27 April 1820. He was the eldest son of (William) George Spencer (bap. 1790, d. 1866), the proprietor and headmaster of a small private school, and his wife, ...

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Edvard Alexander Westermarck (1862–1939) by M. E., 1913 by courtesy of London School of Economics

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Westermarck, Edvard Alexander [Edward] (1862–1939), anthropologist, sociologist, and philosopher, was born in Helsinki, Finland, on 20 November 1862, the third son and fourth of five children of Constance Gustava Maria Blomqvist (1830–1909) and Nils Christian Westermarck (1826–1904), whose family can be traced to seventeenth-century farmers in ...

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Wilson, Bryan Ronald (1926–2004), sociologist, was born on 25 June 1926 at 3 Proctor's Terrace, Leeds, the third son and fourth child of Alice Elizabeth Wilson, née Clarke (1885–1961), a clothing club collector. His father is unknown, but he took the surname of his mother's first husband and father of her other children, ...

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Barbara Frances Wootton, Baroness Wootton of Abinger (1897–1988) by Walter Bird, 1964 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wootton [née Adam], Barbara Frances, Baroness Wootton of Abinger (1897–1988), economist and social scientist, was born on 14 April 1897 in Cambridge, the only daughter and youngest of three children of James Adam (1860–1907), tutor at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and his wife, ...