Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 80

Cambridge Encyclopedia

William F(orsyth) Sharpe

Economist, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. He taught at Washington, Irvine, and Stanford (from 1970) universities. He shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for Economics for his contributions to the corporate finance field, particularly his studies in financial decision-making under uncertainty. William Forsyth Sharpe (born June 16, 1934) is Professor of Finance, Emeritus at Stanford Universit…

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William F(rederick) Cody - Nickname and work life, Early years, Civil War Soldier and Marriage, Life in Cody, Wyoming

Frontiersman and showman, born in Scott Co, Iowa, USA. After his father died when he was 12, and with little formal education, he worked as a wagoner, trapper, and prospector before joining the Pony Express at age 14. During the Civil War, he served as a scout for the Union army's Ninth Kansas Cavalry (1863) and then with the Union forces in Tennessee and Missouri (1864–5). After the war he tried…

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William Feller - Early life and education, Work, Results

Mathematician, born in Zagreb, Croatia. He studied at Zürich and Göttingen, and after teaching at Kiel, left Germany in 1933 for Stockholm. In 1939 he emigrated to the USA, holding chairs at Brown (1939–45), Cornell (1945–50), and Princeton (1950–70) universities. He is best known for his work in probability theory. William (Vilim) Feller (July 7, 1906 - January 14, 1970), born Willibr…

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William Ferrel

Meteorologist, born in Fulton Co, Pennsylvania, USA. Largely self-taught, he is credited with moving meteorology from a descriptive science to a quantitative science. He was the first to describe mathematically the significance of the earth's rotation on its surface bodies. Known as Ferrel's Law, it states ‘if a body is moving in any direction, there is a force, arising from the earth's rotation,…

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William Fogg Osgood

Mathematician, born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. A noted teacher at Harvard (1890–1933), he contributed to development of continuous functions, differential equations, Riemann's theorem, calculus of variations, and space-filling curves. His Lehrbuch der Fuktionetheorie (1907) is still a classic. He loved travel, tennis, golf, and cigars. William Fogg Osgood (1864-1943) was an American ma…

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William Frederick Poole

Librarian and historian, born in Salem, Massachusetts, USA. As a student at Yale (graduated 1849), he maintained and expanded a project indexing useful materials in books and magazines. This index was published in 1848 and was the forerunner to Poole's Index to Periodical Literature. He was librarian of the Boston Athenæum (1856–69) and he then helped to establish the library of the US Naval Aca…

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William Friese-Greene - Career, After death

Photographer and inventor, born in Bristol, SW England, UK. In the 1880s he designed a camera to expose a sequence of photographs for projection by lantern slides as a moving image, and is thus claimed by some as the English inventor of cinematography; but he did not in fact propose perforated strips of film for either photography or projection. His first successful picture, using celluloid film, …

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William Gaddis - Biography, Works, The Gaddis Annotations

Novelist, born in New York City, USA. He studied at Harvard, then worked as a freelance speech and scriptwriter before making his mark with the novel The Recognitions (1955), a complex story using experimental language, which drew acclaim from some quarters and incomprehension from others. A radical satirist, he was one of America's most prominent contemporary novelists; his other works include JR…

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William Gardner Hale

Classicist, born in Savannah, Georgia, USA. He studied at Harvard (1870 BA), and taught at Cornell University (1880–1892) and the University of Chicago (1892–1919). He was influential in founding the American School of Classical Studies at Rome (now the American Academy at Rome) and was its first director (1895). His Art of Reading Latin (1887) was enormously influential, but his life's work was…

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William Gifford

Editor and critic, born in Ashburton, Devon, SW England, UK. Orphaned at 12, he secured education at Oxford through patronage. His early works, the Baviad (1794), and the Maeviad (1796), were satirical attacks against writers who had had an easier start in life. Gifford's editorship of the Anti-Jacobin (1797–8) gained him favour with Tory magnates, and he was the first editor of the Quarterly Rev…

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William Gilbert

Physician and physicist, born in Colchester, Essex, SE England, UK. After a period at Cambridge, he was appointed physician to Elizabeth I. He established the magnetic nature of the Earth, and conjectured that terrestrial magnetism and electricity were two allied emanations of a single force. He was the first to use the terms electricity, electric force, and electric attraction. His book, De magne…

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William Gillette - Youth, Playwright, director and actor, Career as Sherlock Holmes, Gillette Castle

Actor and playwright, born in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Best known for his authoritative, striking presence in plays that he had himself adapted from other works, he made an extremely successful Sherlock Holmes in 1899, later performing the role in England, and frequently reviving it throughout his life. His original plays include two successful Civil War dramas, Held by the Enemy (1886) and Sec…

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William Gilmore Simms - Simms' Life, Simms' Early Writings, Simms Popular Novels about the South, Simms as Historian

Writer, born in Charleston, North Carolina, USA. After a precocious childhood, he edited a magazine and published a volume of poetry at 19, and was admitted to the bar aged 21. Best known for his historical novels, his most popular work was The Yemassee (1835). His ‘revolutionary series’ (1835–67) started with The Partisan, and he also published short stories, poetry, biographies, and criticism…

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William Godwin - Early Life and Education, Early Writing, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Caleb Williams, Political Writing

Political writer and novelist, born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, EC England, UK. His major work of social philosophy was An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793), which greatly impressed the English Romantics. His masterpiece was the novel The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794). He married Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797. A bookselling business long involved him in difficulties, and in 1833 he w…

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William Goebel - Early life, Political career, Assassination and aftermath, Trials and investigations, Trivia

US governor, born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, USA. A lawyer in Covington, KY, he served as a Democrat in the Kentucky senate (1888–99), supporting regulation of the railroads and election reform, thereby feuding with members of his own party. In 1900, while contesting results of the governor's election, he was shot, but was legally declared governor before his death. Goebel was born in 18…

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William Graham Sumner - Works by Sumner, External Links to Sumner's Works, Quotes

Sociologist and educator, born in Paterson, New Jersey, USA. The son of an immigrant English workman who read and thought about social and economic issues, he studied at Yale (1863 BA) and then went to Europe to study for the ministry. In 1869 he was ordained as a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church and became a rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, NJ (1870). Desiring to speak…

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William Grant Broughton - Legacy

First Anglican bishop of Sydney, born in London, UK. He studied at Cambridge, and was ordained in 1818, ministering in Hampshire before accepting an invitation from the Duke of Wellington to become the second archdeacon of New South Wales. He arrived in Sydney in 1829, and became Bishop of Australia in 1836. With the division into more manageable dioceses (1847), he was restyled Bishop of Sydney a…

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William Grant Still - Life and career, Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American", Further reading

Composer, born in Woodville, Mississippi, USA. He studied medicine, switching to the study of composition at the Oberlin Conservatory. He worked as an arranger of popular music, and played in theatre and night-club orchestras while studying under Varèse. His music includes five operas, four symphonies, three ballets, chamber and choral music, and orchestral pieces. Known especially for his ‘Afro…

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William Green

Labour leader, born in Coshocton, Ohio, USA. A coal miner from age 16, he rose in the union ranks and served in the Ohio senate (1911–15). He was secretary-treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America (1913–24) and then succeeded Samuel Gompers as president of the American Federation of Labor (1924–52). He helped to shape the National Industrial Recovery Act (1933) and the National Labor Rel…

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William H Bonney - Biography, Claimants to the title, In film, literature, radio, and music

Outlaw and murderer, born in New York City, New York, USA. Moving with his family to Coffeyville, Kansas (1862), Colorado, and Silver City, New Mexico (1868), he allegedly killed his first man at age 12. After killing three Indians in Arizona (1876) and rampaging throughout the Southwest and Mexico, he led a faction in New Mexico's notorious ‘Lincoln County [cattle] War’ (1878), and killed Sheri…

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William H(ayward) Pickering - Gifford Observatory, Honours

Rocket scientist, born in Wellington, New Zealand. He studied in the USA, and in 1944 joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which he went on to direct (1954–76). He oversaw the first orbit of the Earth by a US satellite (1958), the first US soft landings on the Moon, the first mission to orbit Mars (Mariner IX) and the first missions to Venus and Mercury (Mariner X). He received an honorary knigh…

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William H(enry) Vanderbilt

Railroad developer and financier, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. His father, ‘Commodore’ Cornelius Vanderbilt, regarded him as incapable of playing a role in his business empire, but after William succeeded at running a farm on Staten I and then at turning around the bankrupt Staten Island Railroad (1857–63), his father appointed him vice-president of the New York & Harlem Railroad (18…

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William H(oward) Stein

Biochemist, born in New York City, USA. He studied at Harvard and Columbia universities, and spent his career at the Rockefeller Institute, New York City. There, with Stanford Moore, he developed a method for finding the number of amino acid residues in a protein molecule, and they shared the 1972 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. …

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William Harrison Ainsworth - Works

Historical novelist, born in Manchester, Greater Manchester, NW England, UK. He studied for the law, but began a literary career instead, and is chiefly remembered for popularizing the story of the highwayman Dick Turpin in Rookwood (1834) and the legend of Herne the Hunter in Windsor Castle (1843). He edited Ainsworth's Magazine (1842–53), and wrote nearly 40 popular historical romances. He was …

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William Harvey - Early life and education, New circulatory model, Embryology, Criticism of Harvey's work, Posthumous Honors

Physician who discovered the circulation of the blood, born in Folkestone, Kent, SE England, UK. He studied at Cambridge and Padua, and settled in London as a physician, holding appointments at St Bartholomew's Hospital (1609–43) and from 1615 at the College of Physicians. He was also appointed physician to James I and Charles I. His celebrated treatise, De motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus …

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William Hazlitt - Childhood, Adulthood, Works, Quotes

Essayist, born in Maidstone, Kent, SE England, UK. The son of a Unitarian minister, he took up painting, but was encouraged by Coleridge to write Principles of Human Action (1805), and further essays followed. In 1812 he found employment in London as a journalist, and also contributed to the Edinburgh Review (1814–20), proving himself to be a deadly controversialist, and a master of epigram, inve…

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William Hedley

Inventor, born in Newburn, Tyne and Wear, NE England, UK. A colliery official, he patented a design for a railway traction engine using smooth wheels on smooth rails. His locomotive was known as Puffing Billy, and was the first commercial steam locomotive, hauling coal trucks a distance of about 5 mi from the mine at Wylam to the dockside at Lemington-on-Tyne. William Hedley (1773 – 1843…

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William Henry

Chemist, born in Manchester, Greater Manchester, NW England, UK. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, and practised in Manchester, but soon devoted himself to chemistry. He formulated the law named after him, that the amount of gas absorbed by a liquid varies directly as the pressure of the gas above the liquid, provided no chemical action takes place. A childhood injury led to continuing pain, and h…

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William Henry Hare

Rugby union player, born in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, C England, UK. A sheep farmer, he holds the all-time first-class points-scoring record. When he retired in 1989 he had scored 7337 points. His phenomenal accuracy as a place kicker never deserted him through an 18-year career, during which he won 23 full caps for England. He holds the all-time first-class points-scoring record. W…

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William Henry Harrison - Early years and military career, Post-war political career, Presidency 1841, Trivia

US statesman and ninth president (1841), born in Charles City Co, Virginia, USA. Wellborn and well-educated, he opted for the army and in the 1790s fought Indians in the Northwest Territory under Anthony Wayne. As governor of the new Indian Territory (1800–12), he extracted millions of acres from the Indians and fought Tecumseh's rebels in the Battle of Tippecanoe (Nov 1811), and although the bat…

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William Henry Harrison Beadle

Educator, born in Liberty township, Parke Co, Indiana, USA. He studied civil engineering at the University of Michigan and rose to the rank of brevet brigadier-general during the Civil War. He went to the Dakota Territory (1869), and as surveyor-general for that area, he put all his efforts towards the judicious and cautious use of the public school lands. He wrote the education article in the Sou…

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William Henry Holmes

Archaeologist and museum director, born near Cadiz, Ohio, USA. Trained as an artist, his interests turned to archaeology in 1875 when exploring ancient cliff dwellings in the arid SW with the US Geological Survey. A visit to the Yucatan while he was curator of anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, stimulated a major contribution to Mesoamerican archaeology, the illustrated …

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William Henry Ireland - Early life, First forgeries, "The Solemn Mockery", Forgeries exposed

Forger of Shakespeare manuscripts, born in London, UK. He was articled to a London conveyancer where he had access to Elizabethan parchment and legal documents. Impressed with the story of Chatterton, he forged deeds and signatures of or relating to Shakespeare, and gradually more and more documents which his father eventually put on display. Many men of letters and experts believed in what they s…

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William Henry Jackson

Photographer, born in Keesville, New York, USA. Photographer for seven US Geological Surveys of the Territories (1870–8), he travelled by mule to take the first pictures of Pike's Peak, Yellowstone, and Mesa Verde Mountain. William Henry Jackson (April 4, 1843 - June 30, 1942) was an American painter, photographer and explorer famous for his images of the American West. Jackson…

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William Henry Keeler - Early life, Episcopal Succession

Baseball player, born in Brooklyn, New York, USA. During his 19 year career as an outfielder (1892–1910), mostly with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, he posted a lifetime batting average of ·345, fifth highest in major league history. A diminutive player, his batting style was, as he put it, ‘To hit 'em where they ain't’. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1939. Hi…

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William Henry Moody - External links and sources

Judge, born in Newbury, Massachusetts, USA. He prosecuted for Massachusetts in the Lizzie Borden murder trial and was elected to the US House of Representatives (Republican, Massachusetts, 1895). President Theodore Roosevelt named him secretary of the navy (1902–4), attorney general (1904–6), and to the US Supreme Court (1906–10). William Henry Moody (23 December 1853-July 2, 1917) was a…

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William Henry Pickering

Astronomer, born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, the brother of Edward Charles Pickering. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, he joined Harvard's astronomy department (1887–1924). He pioneered dry-plate celestial photography and took important early photographs of Mars (1888) and the Moon (1900), and was the first to discover a satellite by photography when he located Phoebe, Saturn'…

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William Henry Playfair - Timeline of major projects

Architect, born in London, UK, the nephew of John Playfair. He was brought up in Edinburgh, and designed many of Edinburgh's most prominent buildings, including the National Gallery of Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy, the National Monument on the Calton Hill, Surgeon's Hall, and Donaldson's Hospital. Two of his finest works are the neo-classical buildings of the National Gallery of Sco…

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William Herschel Telescope

The world's third largest single-mirror telescope when completed in 1987, mounted on La Palma, Canary Is. It is a general purpose telescope to allow a wide range of astronomical observations. The William Herschel Telescope or WHT was first conceived in the late 1960s, when the Anglo-Australian Observatory was being designed. …

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William Hill - People, Other uses

Ironmaster and soldier, born in Ireland. He settled in South Carolina (1762), where he operated iron mines and established ironworks for making farm tools, kitchenware, and cannon. He served in the American Revolution and in the South Carolina legislature. The name William Hill may refer to the following: …

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William Hogarth - Life, Works, Analysis, Trivia

Painter and engraver, born in London, UK. By 1720 he had his own business as an engraver, and by the late 1720s as a portrait painter. Tiring of conventional art forms, he began his ‘modern moral subjects’, such as ‘A Rake's Progress’ (1733–5), and his masterpiece, the ‘Marriage à la Mode’ (1743–5, Tate, London). His crowded canvases are full of revealing details and pointed subplots. In …

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William Holden - Early life and career, Later career, Private life, Death, Academy Awards and Nominations, Filmography

Film actor, born in O'Fallon, Illinois, USA. He took part in radio plays before making his film debut in Million Dollar Legs (1939). Later films include Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Wild Bunch (1969), and The Network (1973), and he won a Best Actor Oscar for his role in Stalag 17 (1953). William Holden (April 17, 1918 - November 16, 1981) was an Academy Awards-winning American film actor. …

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William Howard Taft - Early life, Secretary of War, 1904-1908, Post-presidency, Medical condition

US statesman and 27th president (1909–13), born in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Having studied at Yale and practised law in Cincinnati, he gravitated to Republican politics and held several appointments and a judgeship in Ohio. In 1890 he began two years as US solicitor general under President Benjamin Harrison, then became a federal circuit judge (1892). He left that position (1900) when President Wil…

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William Hull

US soldier, born in Derby, Connecticut, USA. He studied at Yale, then joined the Revolutionary forces in 1775 and saw action at White Plains, Trenton, Saratoga, and Monmouth. After the war he practised law in Newton, MA, and accepted Jefferson's offer of the governorship of the Michigan Territory (1805). In 1812 he led a small army into Ontario, but retreated on the appearance of a combined Britis…

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William Humphrey

Writer, born in Clarksville, Texas, USA. He studied at Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas, and then, feeling the need for literary contacts, moved to New York City in 1953. His first novel, Home from the Hills (1958), was well received. It is set in the Red R country of NE Texas, the locale of most of his fiction thereafter. The Ordways (1965) was his second novel, and later…

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William Hunter

Anatomist and obstetrician, born in Long Calderwood, East Kilbride, WC Scotland, UK, the brother of John Hunter. He studied medicine at Glasgow University, and became a physician in London (1756), also teaching surgery and anatomy. He introduced the practice of dissection of cadavers for medical students. From about 1756 he confined his practice to obstetrics, and was appointed physician-extraordi…

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William Hurt - Early life, Select Filmography

Actor, born in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. He studied at the Juilliard School in New York City, acted in a succession of off-Broadway productions, then worked in television before making his cinema debut in Altered States (1980). He won a Best Actor Oscar for Kiss of The Spiderwoman (1985), and Oscar nominations for Children Of A Lesser God (1986) and Broadcast News (1987). Frequently r…

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William Huskisson - Biography

British statesman, born at Birch Moreton Court, Worcestershire, WC England, UK. He was appointed under-secretary in the colonial department (1795), and entered parliament in 1796. He was secretary of the Treasury (1804–9), President of the Board of Trade, treasurer of the navy (1823), and colonial secretary (1827–8). He obtained the removal of restrictions on the trade of the colonies with forei…

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William Hyde Wollaston - Life, Work, Honours

Chemist, born in East Dereham, Norfolk, E England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, practised as a physician (1789–1800), then devoted his time to chemistry, optics, and physiology. He developed a method, now basic to powder metallurgy but which he kept secret until just before his death, of making malleable platinum. His success made him financially secure for the rest of his life. He discovered pal…

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William (of England) I

Duke of Normandy (1035–87) and the first Norman king of England (1066–87), the illegitimate son of Duke Robert of Normandy. Edward the Confessor, who had been brought up in Normandy, most probably designated him as future King of England in 1051. When Harold Godwinson, despite an apparent oath to uphold William's claims, took the throne as Harold II, William invaded with the support of the papac…

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William (of Germany) I

King of Prussia (1861–88) and first German emperor (1871–88), born in Berlin, Germany, the second son of Frederick William III. His use of force during the 1848 revolution made him unpopular, and he was forced to leave Prussia temporarily for London. As king he consolidated the throne and strengthened the army, placing Bismarck at the head of the ministry. He was victorious against Denmark (1864…

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William (of Holland) I

Count of Holland (from 1203), the son of Floris II and Ada of Scotland. He married Aleida of Gelre in 1198, and in 1220 Maria of Brabant, widow of Emperor Otto IV. On his father's death he fought his elder brother Dirk VII for Holland, but after Dirk's death he managed to seize the county from his niece Ada. He joined the Anglo-Guelfs against the Franco-Hohenstaufens, was taken prisoner at Bouvine…

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William (of Nassau-Dillenburg) I

Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, born in Dillenburg, WC Germany, the son of John V of Nassau. He married first Walburga of Egmond (1506), then Juliana of Stolberg-Wernigerode (1531). He converted to Lutheranism and became a member of the Schmalkaldic League. He inherited the German properties of Nassau as well as a quarrel with the landgraves of Hesse over Katzenelnbogen, which was settled by Hesse get…

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William (of Orange) I

Dutch ruler, born in Dillenburg, WC Germany, the eldest son of William of Nassau (the Rich). Brought up at Charles V's court, he had a distinguished military career, was made Knight of the Golden Fleece, was appointed stadtholder (governor) of Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht by Philip II of Spain (1559–67), and in 1569 was made a member of the Council of State. He married (1) Anne of Buren, (2) Ann…

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William (of Scotland) I

King of Scots (1165–1214), the brother and successor of Malcolm IV. In 1173–4 he invaded Northumberland during the rebellion against Henry II, but was captured at Alnwick, and by the Treaty of Falaise (1174) recognized Henry as the feudal superior of Scotland. Despite his difficulties with England, he made Scotland a much stronger kingdom. In 1189 Scottish independence was restored, and in 1192 …

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William (of the Netherlands) I

King of the Netherlands (1815–40), born in The Hague, W Netherlands, the son of Stadtholder William V and Wilhelmina of Prussia. He married Frederica of Prussia in 1791. After leading the campaign against the French in 1793–4 he left for England, and from there joined the Prussian forces. His admiration for Napoleon led him to an accommodation with him, gaining compensation from him for losses i…

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William (of England) II

King of England (1087–1100), the second surviving son of William the Conqueror. His main goal was the recovery of Normandy from his elder brother Robert Curthose. From 1096, when Robert relinquished the struggle and departed on the First Crusade, William ruled the duchy as de facto duke. He also led expeditions to Wales (1095, 1097), conquered Carlisle and the surrounding district (1092), and af…

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William (of Germany) II

German emperor and King of Prussia (1888–1918), born in Potsdam, EC Germany, the eldest son of Frederick III (1831–88) and Victoria (the daughter of Britain's Queen Victoria), and grandson of Emperor William I. He dismissed Bismarck (1890), and began a long period of personal rule, displaying a bellicose attitude in international affairs. He pledged full support to Austria–Hungary after the ass…

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William (of Holland) II

Count of Holland (from 1234), the son of Floris IV. In 1252 he married Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg. He started his rule as ward of his uncles, first issuing proclamations in his own name at the age of 13. He supported Innocent IV against Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, and in 1247, after being elected King of the Romans, took Aachen and was crowned there the next year. After refusing to pay hom…

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William (of Orange) II

Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, born in The Hague, W Netherlands, the only son of Stadtholder Frederick Henry and Amalia of Solms. In 1641 he married Mary, the daughter of Charles I of England. He succeeded his father as stadtholder of the provinces of the Northern Netherlands (except Friesland in 1647–50) and as captain-admiral-general of the Union in 1647. He was disappointed by the Treaty o…

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William (of The Netherlands) II

King of the Netherlands (1840–9), born in The Hague, W Netherlands, the son of William I. He served in the peninsula as Wellington's ADC, and commanded the Dutch troops in the Waterloo campaign. He was engaged in 1813 to Charlotte, daughter of the Prince Regent of England, but she broke it off, and in 1816 he married Anna Pavlovna of Russia. He was employed by William I as a negotiator with the r…

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William (of Great Britain) III - The Principality of Orange, United Provinces of the Netherlands, Kingdom of the Netherlands

Stadtholder of the United Provinces (1672–1702) and king of Great Britain (1689–1702), born in The Hague, W Netherlands, the son of William II of Orange by Mary, the eldest daughter of Charles I of England. Before he attained his majority, he was kept out of national politics by Johan de Witt, Raadpensionaris (Grand Pensionary) of the province of Holland. His later marriage (1677) to his cousin,…

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William (of The Netherlands) III

King of The Netherlands (1849–90), born in Brussels, Belgium, the eldest son of William II. He married his cousin Sophia of Wurtemberg, by whom he had three sons, all of whom predeceased him. He disliked the 1848 Constitution and favoured personal rule, so that he was generally at odds with Thorbecke. He lived mostly at Het Loo, separated from his wife, and on her death in 1877 married Emma of Wa…

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William IV - Early life, Duke of Clarence, Later life, Titles, styles, honours and arms, Issue, Legacy

King of Great Britain and Ireland, and king of Hanover (1830–7), born in London, UK, the third son of George III, and before his accession known as Duke of Clarence. He entered the navy in 1779, saw service in the USA and the West Indies, became admiral in 1811, and Lord High Admiral in 1827–8. His elder brother having died, he succeeded George IV in 1830. Widely believed to have Whig leanings a…

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William (of Holland) IV - Early life, Duke of Clarence, Later life, Titles, styles, honours and arms, Issue, Legacy

Count of Holland (from 1337) and Count of Hainault (as William II), the son of William III. He married Joanna, the daughter of John III of Brabant. He could not prevent the French invading Hainault, so ended the English alliance and sided with France. He went to Jerusalem and crusaded against the Moors and Easterners. His candidate, Jan van Arkel, was installed as Bishop of Utrecht, but Jan later …

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William (of Orange-Nassau) IV - Early life, Duke of Clarence, Later life, Titles, styles, honours and arms, Issue, Legacy

Prince of Orange-Nassau, Stadtholder of Friesland (from 1711), Groningen (1718), Drenthe and Gelderland (1722), Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, and Overijssel (1747), born in Leeuwarden, N Netherlands. In 1734 he married Anne of Hanover, the daughter of George II of England. He was only appointed to the stadtholder's office in the S provinces and made captain-general because of the poor progress of the…

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William James - Early years, Professional career, Writings, Epistemology, Philosophy of religion, Theory of emotion, Philosophy of history, Bibliography

Philosopher and psychologist, born in New York City, New York, USA, the brother of Henry James. After a broad education in Europe and a brief try at becoming an artist, he completed Harvard Medical School (1869). Plagued by ailments and depression, he never practised, but did recover his energies, partly by placing faith in free will. He joined the Harvard faculty (1872), teaching physiology, then…

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William James Mayo - Education and Professional Work

Physician, born in Le Sueur, Minnesota, USA. After studying under his father, he took his MD from the University of Michigan (1883), and joined his father and brother, Charles Mayo, as surgeon at St Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN, with them co-founding (1889) what would become the Mayo Clinic (1903). The brothers travelled widely to observe the new developments in surgery, then back in Rochester…

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William Jennings Bryan - Background and early career, First Battle: 1896, War and Peace: 1898-1900

Political leader and orator, born in Salem, Illinois, USA. After practising law, he was elected to the US House of Representatives (Democrat, 1891–5) and began to develop his reputation as the Great Commoner, using his oratorical skills on behalf of the causes of ordinary folk. He opposed high tariffs, and he called for an income tax, direct popular election of senators, a Department of Labour, p…

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William Jessop

Civil engineer, born in Devonport, Devon, SW England, UK. He worked under John Smeaton on canals in Yorkshire and elsewhere. With others he founded the Butterley Iron Works in 1790, and began to manufacture fish-bellied cast-iron rails which marked an important advance in railway track technology. He was involved as chief engineer on the construction of the Grand Junction Canal with its mile-long …

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William John Wills - Early Years, Burke and Wills Expedition

Explorer, born in Devon, SW England, UK. He studied medicine, became a surveyor of crown lands in Victoria, Australia, and was second-in-command of Robert O'Hara Burke's ill-fated expedition to the N of Australia, on which he died of starvation. Wills was born in Totnes in Devon on 5 January 1834 and was educated at St Andrews Grammar School, Ashburton. Wills father, Dr William Wills Snr., …

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William Johnson

Judge, born in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. He served in the South Carolina legislature (1794–8) and the state's high court (1798–1804) before President Jefferson named him to the US Supreme Court (1804–34). He often dissented from the opinions of Chief Justice John Marshall, thereby establishing the model for recording dissenting court opinions. …

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William Johnstone - Details, The medal

Painter, born in Denholm, Scottish Borders, SE Scotland, UK. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art and subsequently in Paris. His work in the late 1920s and 1930s shows the influence of Surrealism in its use of rounded semi-abstract images suggestive of dream-like landscapes and human forms. He held a series of teaching posts in London, latterly as principal of the Central School of Arts and Craf…

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William Joyce - Early life, British Union of Fascists, Lord Haw-Haw, Capture and Trial

British Nazi propagandist, born in New York City, USA. As a child he lived in Ireland, and in 1922 his family emigrated to England. He founded the fascist British National Socialist Party and fled to Germany before war broke out. Throughout World War 2 he broadcast from Radio Hamburg propaganda against Britain, gaining his nickname from his upper-class drawl. He was captured by the British at Flen…

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William Julius Wilson

Sociologist, born in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, USA. He earned his PhD at Washington State University and joined the faculty of the University of Chicago (1971). He studied the ghetto poor and the cycle of poverty in America, and developed city programmes in Chicago to help urban African-Americans. His works include Power, Racism and Privilege (1973), Through Different Eyes (1973), and The Trul…

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William K(issam) Vanderbilt

Businessman and sportsman, born near New Dorp, New York, USA. The son of William H Vanderbilt, he was an executive in the family railroads (1869–1903) and helped his brother Cornelius Vanderbilt manage the family investments. In 1903 he turned over control of the New York Central system to the Rockefeller-Morgan-Pennsylvania group. An enthusiastic yachtsman, he owned and sailed Defender in intern…

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William Kelly

Iron manufacturer and inventor, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. In Kentucky in the 1840s and early 1850s, he built and operated iron furnaces and was making wrought-iron articles. By 1850 he had discovered that a blast of air blown through molten iron removed many of the impurities found in cast iron of the day, leaving a stronger and more ductile metal. Using what he called this ‘air-boil…

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William Kempe - Life, Work, Kempe in modern fiction

Comic actor and dancer, who was famous in the Elizabethan theatre, and a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men at the time they decided to build the Globe theatre (1598–9). In 1594 he was summoned, together with Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare, to act before Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich. The original Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, he spent the latter part of his life abroad. For some …

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William Kent - Education, Architectural works, Landscape architect, Furniture designer, Walpole tribute

Painter, landscape gardener, and architect, born in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, NE England, UK. He studied in Rome, and became the principal exponent of the Palladian style of architecture in England. His buildings include the Horse Guards block in Whitehall, the Royal Mews in Trafalgar Square and the Treasury Buildings. An example of his gardens is at Stowe House in Buckinghamshire, an…

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William Kidd - Early life and career, Preparing his expedition, Hunting for pirates, Trial, Mythology and legend

Privateer and pirate, probably born in Greenock, Inverclyde, WC Scotland, UK. He established himself as a sea captain in New York (1690), saw much privateering service, and gained a high reputation for courage. In 1696 he was commissioned to suppress piracy, and reached Madagascar, but then turned pirate himself. After a 2-years' cruise he returned to the West Indies, ventured to Boston, and was a…

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William King

Ship owner and governor, born in Scarboro, Maine (then part of Massachusetts), USA. He moved to Bath, Maine (1800), and became an important shipowner and a leading citizen. He was a major-general of militia in the War of 1812, and following Maine's admission to the Union he became the first governor of Maine (1820–1). He was a commissioner for the Adams–Onis Treaty with Spain (1821–4). In 1835 …

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William Labov

Linguist, born in Passaic, New Jersey, USA. He studied at Harvard (1948) and worked as an industrial chemist (1949–61) before turning to linguistics and taking his PhD at Columbia University (1963). He taught at Columbia (1964–70) before becoming a professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania (1971), and then became director of the university's Linguistics Laboratory (1977). The me…

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William Langer - Personal life, Political offices

US senator and governor, born in Everest, North Dakota, USA. A lawyer and Republican attorney general (1916–20) he enforced prohibition laws in North Dakota. Elected governor in 1933, he was removed the next year for soliciting funds from state employees, but was cleared and re-elected (1937–9). Serving in the US Senate (1941–59), he supported social welfare legislation but opposed American inv…

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William Langland

Poet, probably born in Ledbury, Herefordshire, WC England, UK. Little is known about his life, but he is thought to have been a clerk and a minor cleric who lived many years in London in poverty. He is credited with the authorship of the great mediaeval alliterative poem on the theme of spiritual pilgrimage, Piers Plowman (written over an uncertain period from c.1360). The poem is written in collo…

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William Lassell

Astronomer, born in Bolton, Lancashire, NW England, UK. As an amateur, he built an observatory at Starfield near Liverpool, where he constructed and mounted equatorial reflecting telescopes. He discovered several planetary satellites, including Triton (1846) and Hyperion (1848). He was the first to ascertain clearly the composition of the Uranian system, and discovered Ariel and Umbriel, satellite…

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William Laud

Clergyman and Archbishop of Canterbury, born in Reading, S England, UK. He studied at Oxford, and was ordained in 1601. His learning and industry brought him many patrons, and he rapidly received preferment, becoming King's Chaplain (1611), Bishop of St David's (1621), Bishop of Bath and Wells and a privy councillor (1626), Bishop of London (1628), and Archbishop of Canterbury (1633). With Straffo…

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William Law - Writer

Clergyman, born in Kingscliffe, Northamptonshire, C England, UK. He studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow (1711), and was ordained, but was forced to resign on refusing to take the oath of allegiance to George I. He wrote several treatises on Christian ethics and mysticism, notably the Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1729), which influenced the Wesleys. Wi…

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William Le Baron Jenney - Further reading

Architect and engineer, born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, USA. He founded the Chicago school of architecture, pioneering the development of steel-frame construction in prototype skyscrapers such as the Home Insurance Building (1884–5). Among his trainees were Louis Sullivan and Daniel Burnham. William Le Baron Jenney (25 September 1832—14 June 1907) was an American architect and engineer…

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William Lisle Bowles

Clergyman and poet, born in King's Sutton, Northamptonshire, C England, UK. He studied at Oxford, became vicar of Bremhill in Yorkshire, and later was chaplain to the prince regent (1818). In his poetry he was a forerunner of the Romantic movement in English poetry. His Fourteen Sonnets, Written Chiefly on Picturesque Spots During a Journey (1789), published anonymously, was widely admired. …

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William Livingston

Legislator and governor, born in Albany, New York, USA. After graduating from Yale (1741), he chose law instead of the family business, joining the liberal New York firm of James Alexander, noted for championing freedom of the press. In a series of newspaper and magazine articles (1751–2), he attacked a plan to charter King's College (New York City) under the Episcopalians, becoming a leader of t…

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William Lloyd Garrison - Early life, Career as a reformer, Surviving family

Journalist, abolitionist, and social activist, born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA. With little formal education, he was a printer by trade who became editor of several small New England newspapers (1824–8). Turning his attention away from temperance to slavery, in Boston (1829) he delivered the first of his many inflammatory public addresses against slavery, and later that year joined Benjam…

1 minute read

William Lowndes Yancey - Youth, Early career, Public office, Pro-slavery agitation, 1860, Secession, His talent, Character

US representative and diplomat, born in Ogeechee, Georgia, USA. He was a leading Alabama lawyer who resigned after an unsatisfying congressional term (Democrat, 1844–6) to promote his unyielding views on states' rights and secession across the South, and is largely credited with shaping Southern public opinion to favour secession. He died in office as a Confederate senator (1862–3). Willi…

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William Lyon Mackenzie

Politician, born in Dundee, E Scotland, UK. He emigrated to Canada in 1820, established the Colonial Advocate in 1824, and entered politics in 1828. In 1837 he published in his paper a declaration of Canadian independence, headed a band of reform-minded insurgents, and after a skirmish with a superior force, fled to the USA, where he was imprisoned. He returned to Canada in 1849, becoming a journa…

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William Maclay

US representative, born in Lurgan Township, Pennsylvania, USA. Educated in country schools, he became a lawyer in Chambersburg, PA, where he also served as county commissioner. A Republican member of the Pennsylvania house (1807–8), he was the associate judge for the Cumberland District before going to the US House of Representatives (1815–19), returning to Lurgan afterwards. William Macl…

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William Maclure

Geologist, born in Ayr, South Ayrshire, SW Scotland, UK. Educated privately, he travelled to New York City and made a considerable fortune as a merchant. He travelled widely, studying geology, and helped to found the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, becoming its president (1817–40). His Observations on the Geology of the United States (1817) gives the first full account of its subject…

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William Maitland (of Lethington)

Scottish statesman, probably born in Lethington, East Lothian, E Scotland, UK. In 1558 he became secretary of state to the queen-regent, Mary of Guise. He represented Mary, Queen of Scots, at the court of Elizabeth, but made her his enemy by his connivance at Rizzio's murder in 1566. He was also privy to the murder of Darnley, and was one of the commissioners who presented to Elizabeth an indictme…

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William Makepeace Thackeray - Life, Works, Reputation, Trivia, List of works

Novelist, born in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), E India. He studied at Cambridge, left without taking a degree, and visited Germany (1830–1), where he met Goethe. In line for a large inheritance, he turned to journalism, bought the National Standard (1833), and lost his fortune a year later. He first attracted attention as a writer with his work in Punch (1842), in which he exploited the view of s…

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William Manchester - Biography, Controversy over the Kennedy book

Novelist, foreign correspondent, and contemporary historian, born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA. He studied at the universities of Massachusetts and Missouri before winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. His major work is The Death of a President (1967), written at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy. A landmark in reportage, it received mixed reviews and sold in millions, but has subseq…

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William Marcy Tweed - Political Career, Tweed's arrest and subsequent flight, Succession, Trivia

US representative and political boss, born in New York City, New York, USA. He apprenticed as a saddler and then became an officer in a volunteer fire company. He was a city alderman and then served in the US House of Representatives (Democrat, New York, 1853–5). By 1857 he was emerging as the major power in New York City's Tammany Hall Democrats, controlling patronage and nominations to public o…

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William McIntosh

Indian leader and soldier, born in what is now Carroll Co, Georgia, USA. The son of a British officer and a Creek Indian, he led the Lower Creeks in alliance with US forces during the War of 1812 and served under Andrew Jackson in the Seminole campaign in Florida (1817–18). A party of Upper Creeks, incensed by his conciliatory policies toward white settlers, killed him at his home (1 May 1825). …

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William McKinley - Early life, Legal and early political career, Presidency 1897-1901, Media

US statesman and 25th president (1897–1901), born in Niles, Ohio, USA. After briefly teaching, then serving in the Civil War, he studied law in Ohio and began practising in 1867. His interest in politics took him to the US House of Representatives (Republican, Ohio, 1877–91), where his campaign for a protective trade policy finally resulted in the high McKinley Tariff of 1890. Although that tari…

1 minute read

William Merritt Chase - Chase's roles: father, artist, teacher, Landscapes, Honors and late career

Painter, born in Williamsburg, Indiana, USA. Showing a natural talent for painting, he was sent abroad in 1872 to study, funded by a group of St Louis businessmen. Although he studied at the Munich Royal Academy, when he returned to America he had converted to the French Impressionist style, and in 1878 he began teaching at the Art Students League in New York City. Both there and at his own summer…

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William Michael Rossetti - Further information

Art critic and man of letters, born in London, UK, the younger son of Gabriele Rossetti. He started as an official in the Inland Revenue, and became art critic of the Spectator from 1850. He wrote biographies of Shelley and Keats, and published editions of Coleridge, Milton, Blake, and Whitman. Like all his family he was devoted to the study of Dante, whose Inferno he translated. William Mi…

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William Miller - Australia, British Isles, Canada, United States

Religious leader, born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA. A farmer, minor officeholder, and militia veteran of the War of 1812, he underwent a religious conversion c.1816 and convinced himself (and eventually thousands of followers) that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent. He became a licensed Baptist preacher in 1833. His Millerite (Adventist) movement peaked in 1843, and declined rapidly w…

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William Milliken

US governor, born in Traverse City, Michigan, USA. An army veteran, he ran his family's department store (1946–60), then served in the Michigan senate. Republican lieutenant-governor (1964–9), he succeeded George Romney as governor (1969–83), increasing state funding for education and social welfare programmes. He also supported women's rights and backed the equal rights amendment. After leavin…

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William Monroe Trotter

Civil-rights leader, born near Chillicothe, Ohio, USA. Raised in Boston, he was an honours student at Harvard, and founded the Guardian (1901) as ‘propaganda against discrimination’. He opposed Booker T Washington and helped W E B DuBois in founding the Niagra Movement (1905). He found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People too moderate and formed the National Equal Right…

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William Morris - Business career, Poetry, Architecture, Socialism, The Kelmscott Press, Morris today, Literary works

Craftsman, poet, and political activist, born in Walthamstow, NC Greater London, UK. Educated at Marlborough College, he studied for holy orders at Oxford, but renounced the Church, studied architecture, then became a professional painter (1857–62). In 1861, after designing and furnishing his marital home, he founded the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, which revolutionized the art of hou…

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William Morris Hughes

Australian statesman and prime minister (1915–23), born in London, UK. He went to Australia in 1884, entered the New South Wales and Commonwealth parliaments, and became federal prime minister. He was the major proponent of conscription in World War 1, and as Nationalist prime minister represented Australia at the Versailles conference. A founder of the United Australian Party in the early 1930s,…

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William Morris Hunt

Painter, born in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA. The brother of Richard Morris Hunt, he studied in Germany (1845–6) and Paris (1846–56) before settling in Boston in 1862. His work was influenced by French artists of the time, and his genre paintings are romantic and somewhat sentimental, as in ‘The Bathers’ (1877). William Morris Hunt (March 31, 1824 - September 8, 1879), American painter, w…

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William Morton Wheeler

Zoologist and entomologist, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He was curator of the Milwaukee Public Museum (1887–90), taught morphology and embryology at Clark University (Massachusetts) (1890–3), then studied for a year in Europe before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Chicago (1894–9). At the University of Texas (1890–1903), he began the work on ants that engaged him fo…

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William Moultrie

American soldier and governor, born in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. He directed military strategy in South Carolina during the American Revolution, defending Charleston in 1776. Becoming a brigadier-general, he defeated the British at Beaufort (1779), and was then taken prisoner-of-war after the fall of Charleston (1780). As South Carolina's governor (1785–7, 1792–4), he reorganized the mili…

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William Mulholland

Civil engineer, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. He went to the USA (c.1872) and settled in California (1877). During 1886–1928 he designed and built the water system that supplies Los Angeles, including the 500 mi-long aqueduct from the Sierra Nevada to Los Angeles (1913–19) and a series of 27 earth dams for storage. He retired in 1928. He was born in Belfast, Ireland (now Norther…

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William Mulready - Publications

Painter, born in Ennis, Co Clare, W Ireland. He studied at the Royal Academy, London, and specialized in genre paintings, becoming best known for his rural scenes such as ‘Interior of an English Cottage’ (1828). He also worked at portraiture and book illustration, and designed the first penny-postage envelope. William Mulready (April 1, 1786 - July 7, 1863) was an Irish genre painter livi…

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William Murdock

Engineer, and pioneer of coal gas for lighting, born in Old Cumnock, East Ayrshire, SW Scotland, UK. He worked with Boulton and James Watt of Birmingham, and was sent to Cornwall to erect mining engines. At his home in Redruth he constructed the model of a high-pressure engine to run on wheels (1784), introduced labour-saving machinery, a new method of wheel rotation, an oscillating engine (1785),…

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William N(elson) Cromwell

Lawyer, born in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He began as an accountant in the New York law firm of Algernon S Sullivan, and joined it after completing law school, becoming a partner in 1879. As Sullivan and Cromwell, it soon became one of New York's most successful firms, specializing in business law. He consolidated 16 concerns into the National Tube Co, concluded the battle over the Illinois Central…

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William Nicholson

Chemist, born in London, UK. A waterworks engineer for Portsmouth and Gosport, he invented the hydrometer named after him, and also a machine for printing on linen. In association with Anthony Carlisle (1768–1840) he constructed the first voltaic pile in England, and in so doing discovered that water could be dissociated by electricity (1800). In 1797 he founded the Journal of Natural Philosophy,…

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William Nicol

Geologist and physicist, born in Edinburgh, EC Scotland, UK. He lectured in natural philosophy at Edinburgh, and in 1828 invented the Nicol prism, which utilizes the doubly refracting property of Iceland spar, and which proved invaluable in the investigation of polarized light. He also devised a new method of preparing thin sections of rocks for the microscope, but his reluctance to publish delaye…

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William O'Brien

Journalist and nationalist, born in Mallow, Co Cork, S Ireland. He studied at Queen's College, Cork, became editor of the weekly United Ireland, and sat in parliament as a Nationalist (1883–95). Several times prosecuted, and imprisoned for two years, he later returned to parliament (1900–18), founded the United Irish League (1898), and the All-for-Ireland League (1910). William O'Brien (2…

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William Odling

Chemist, born in London, UK. Professor of chemistry at Oxford, he classified the silicates, and put forward suggestions with regard to atomic weights which made O = 16 instead of 8. William Odling (1829 - 1921) was an English chemist who contributed to the development of the periodic table. In the 1860s Odling, like many chemists, was working towards a periodic table of elemen…

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William of Auvergne

Philosopher and theologian, born in Aurillac, SC France. He became professor of theology in the University of Paris (1225) and Bishop of Paris (1228–49), in which role he defended the mendicant orders and introduced various clerical reforms. His most important work is the monumental Magisterium divinale (1223–40, The Divine Teaching), in which he attempted the integration of classical Greek and …

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William of Auxerre

Theologian and philosopher, born in Auxerre, C France. A master of theology, he was an administrator at the University of Paris. Pope Gregory IX appointed him (1231) to a council to censor the works of Aristotle in the university curriculum, to ensure their conformity with the Christian faith, but William died before the council's work had far advanced. His main publication is the Summa aurea in q…

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William of Malmesbury - Biography, Significance, Bibliography, See Also

English chronicler and Benedictine monk, the librarian of Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, S England, UK. The emphasis he placed on the importance of documentary material and non-written sources, including architectural and other kinds of visual evidence, gives him a key place in the development of historical method. His main works are: Gesta regum anglorum, a general history of England from the comin…

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William of Tyre - Early life, Religious and political life in Jerusalem, Works, Sources

Chronicler and clergyman, born in Palestine of French parents. Educated at Paris and Bologna, he entered the service of the kings of Jerusalem, and was appointed Archbishop of Tyre in 1175. His main work, Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum (History of Deeds in Foreign Parts), deals with the history of Palestine from 614 to 1184, and is especially valuable to the historian of the 12th…

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William Osler - Biography, Eponyms

Physician, born in Bond Head, Ontario, Canada. He studied medicine in Canada and in Europe, and in 1873 was the first to observe blood platelets. He returned to teach at McGill University in Montreal (1875–84) and went to the USA to teach at the University of Pennsylvania (1884–8) where he helped found the Association of American Physicians. In 1888–1905 he taught at Johns Hopkins University's …

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William Oughtred

Mathematician, born in Eton, S England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, and wrote extensively on mathematics, notably Clavis mathematica (1631), a textbook on arithmetic and algebra in which he introduced many new symbols. He invented the slide rule, making first a circular model (1622), then the more familiar rectilinear form in c.1633. William Oughtred (March 5, 1575 – June 30, 1660) was a…

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William Paca

US governor, born near Abingdon, Maryland, USA. An Annapolis lawyer and Maryland legislator, he led opposition to the British poll tax in 1774. In the Continental Congress (1774–9), he signed the Declaration of Independence and paid for troops with his own money. As Maryland's governor (1782–5), he built Washington College there, later becoming a federal district judge (1789–99). William…

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William Page

Painter, born in Albany, New York, USA. He was a student of Samuel F B Morse in New York (1826), travelled to Italy (1849–60), and settled in Tottenville, Staten Island, NY. Few paintings survive, but his haunting portrait, ‘Mrs William Page’ (1860), is a notable example. Note: This article is about an American painter and portrait artist. For the West Virginia civil engineer and industr…

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William Paley - Life, Bibliography

Theologian, born in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, C England, UK. He was fellow and tutor of Christ's College, Cambridge (1768–76), and became archdeacon of Carlisle (1782) and subdean of Lincoln (1795). In 1790 he published his most original work, Horae Paulinae, the aim of which was to prove the improbability of the hypothesis that the New Testament is a cunningly devised fable. In 1802 he pub…

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William Paterson

Financier and chief projector of the plan to establish the Bank of England, born in Tinwald, Dumfries and Galloway, SW Scotland, UK. He spent some years trading in the West Indies, and then promoted a scheme for a colony in Darien, Central America. After making a fortune by commerce in London, he was instrumental in founding the Bank of England, and was one of its first directors (1694). A firm su…

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William Paterson

Judge, born in Northern Ireland. He was brought to the USA at age two. He served as New Jersey's first attorney general (1776–83), in the first US Senate (New Jersey, 1788), and as governor of New Jersey (1790–3) before President George Washington named him to the US Supreme Court (1793–1806). Several notable individuals have been named William Paterson: In addition, the name…

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William Penn - Religious beliefs, Persecutions, The founding of Pennsylvania, Posthumous honors

Quaker reformer and colonialist, the founder of Pennsylvania, born in London, UK. Sent down from Oxford for refusing to conform to the restored Anglican Church, he joined the Quakers in 1666, was imprisoned for his writings (1668), and while in the Tower wrote the most popular of his books, No Cross, No Crown. In 1681 he obtained a grant of land in North America, which he called Pennsylvania in ho…

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William Pennington

US representative and governor, born in Newark, New Jersey, USA. A Princeton graduate and lawyer, he became embroiled with Congress when, as Whig governor of New Jersey (1837–43), he affixed his ‘Broad Seal’ to dubious election returns. He later went to the US House of Representatives (1859–62), serving an undistinguished term as compromise Speaker (1859–62). William Pennington (May 4,…

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William Pepper

Physician, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. One of the elite group of American physicians who studied in France in the 1830s, he returned to Philadelphia to work at the Wills Eye Hospital (1839) and the Institute for Instruction of the Blind (1841), before joining the staff of the Pennsylvania Hospital (1842–58). A keen diagnostician, he went on to teach at the medical school of the Unive…

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William Pepper

Physician, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. His first case following graduation (1864) was his own father, William Pepper Sr (1810–64), a famous Philadelphia surgeon and diagnostician, who died that autumn. The son began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School (1868–95). Along with his pioneer contributions to medicine, including his description of malarial parasites, t…

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William Phillips

Diplomat, born in Beverly, Massachusetts, USA. His long diplomatic career (1905–49) included assignments with both the Foreign Service and the State Department. He was ambassador to Italy (1936–40) and wartime ambassador to India (1942–4) (where he was not allowed to meet with Gandhi), and was a pivotal member of the Anglo-American Committee on Palestine (1946). He published his memoirs as Vent…

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William Pinkney

Lawyer, diplomat, US representative and senator, born in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. Forced to leave school because of his poverty, he read law on his own. Admitted to the bar in 1786, he gained a reputation as one of the most talented trial lawyers of his day, noted for his oratory and vanity as well as for hiding his extensive preparations behind a facade of casualness. He spent 16 years abroad, f…

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William Pitt

British statesman and prime minister (1783–1801, 1804–6), the second son of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, born in Hayes, Greater London, UK. He studied law at Cambridge, but then became an MP (1781), his first post being Chancellor of the Exchequer under Shelburne (1782). He became First Lord of the Treasury 1783, and accepted the premiership after the collapse of the short-lived Portland gover…

1 minute read

William Powell Frith - Life and career, Exhibitions

Painter, born in Aldfield, North Yorkshire, N England, UK. He is best known for his huge canvases of Victorian scenes, such as Ramsgate Sands (1854, bought by Queen Victoria for Buckingham Palace), Derby Day (1858, Tate, London) and The Railway Station (1862, Holloway College, London). William Powell Frith (January 19, 1819 - November 9, 1909), was an English painter specialising in portrai…

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William Prout

Chemist and physiologist, born in Horton, Gloucestershire, SWC England, UK. He studied at Edinburgh University, and practised in London from 1812. He is noteworthy for his discovery of the presence of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and for his ‘Hypothesis’ (1815), which stated that the relative atomic masses of all elements are whole number multiples of that of hydrogen, which is a primary su…

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William Prynne

Puritan pamphleteer, born in Swanswick, Somerset, SW England, UK. He studied at Oxford, and was called to the bar, but was early drawn into controversy. In 1633 appeared his Histrio-Mastix: the Players Scourge, which contained an apparent attack on the queen (Henrietta Maria); for this he was tortured, fined, and imprisoned. Released in 1640 by the Long Parliament, he prosecuted Laud (1644), and b…

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William Pynchon

Trader and colonist, born in England, UK. Emigrating to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, he would add to his wealth in the New World by fur trading and land dealing. In 1635 he was appointed as one of the commissioners to govern a new settlement at present-day Springfield, MA. He served as a magistrate of Connecticut (1636–7) but following a conflict with Thomas Hooker, he supported the clai…

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William R(obert) Ware

Educator and architect, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. He founded and directed architectural programmes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1865–81) and Columbia University (1881–1903), and practised (1863–81) with Henry Van Brunt (1832–1903). William Robert Ware (27 May 1832 - 9 June 1915), born in Cambridge, Massachusetts into a family of the Unitarian clergy, was an…

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William Rainey Harper - Published works

Educator and Hebraist, born in New Concord, Ohio, USA. A Yale PhD at age 18, this widely published and brilliant teacher of Semitic languages and literature planned and served as the first president of the University of Chicago (1891–1906), which he created as a great research university, recruiting an impressive faculty and establishing its extension system, cooperative programmes, graduate scho…

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William Ralph Emerson - Selected works

Architect, born in Alton, Illinois, USA. Based in Boston, he introduced the Shingle style and became influential through numerous 1870s and 1880s designs for New England houses, incorporating Queen Anne and Colonial Revival details. Emerson was born in Alton, Illinois, a cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and trained in the office of Jonathan Preston (1801–1888), an architect–builder in Bos…

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William Ralph Inge - Background, Professional Life, Clergy, Works, Personal

Clergyman and theologian, born in Crayke, North Yorkshire, N England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, taught at Eton, and was vicar of All Saints, Kensington, before being appointed professor of divinity at Cambridge (1907). He was Dean of St Paul's (1911–34), earning his byname from the pessimism displayed in his sermons and newspaper articles. William Ralph Inge (June 6, 1860 - February 26,…

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William Randolph Hearst - Publishing business, Political career: from liberal to conservative, Criticism and myths, In Fiction

Publisher, editor, and politician, born in San Francisco, California, USA. The son of George Hearst, publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, he left Harvard without taking a degree, and in 1887 took over the ailing paper. Combining sensationalism with a civic reform campaign, he made the paper highly profitable, and in 1895 he bought the New York Morning Journal and successfully fought a circulat…

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William Rimmer

Painter and sculptor, born in Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England, UK. His family emigrated to the Boston area (1818), and his father claimed he was the lost Dauphin of France, a claim William also made. William grew up in poverty, and after working as a typesetter, cobbler, and self-taught doctor, he became a sculptor, painter, and respected teacher in New York and Boston. He is best known for his …

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William Robinson

Gardener and horticultural writer, born in Co Down, SE Northern Ireland, UK. He worked as a gardener in Ireland, and in 1861 went to the Royal Botanic Society's gardens at Regent's Park, London. An exponent of natural rather than formal gardens, he published 18 books, including Gleanings from French Gardens (1868), Alpine Flowers for English Gardens (1870), and The English Flower Garden (1883), an…

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William Roughead

Criminologist, from Edinburgh, EC Scotland, UK. As a legal apprentice in 1889 he began a lifelong fascination with murder. In 1906 the Trial of Dr Pritchard was the first of his 10 volumes in the ‘Notable British Trials’ series. Harshly moralistic towards the guilty, he also proved a formidable critic where he believed justice had erred. His edition of the Oscar Slater trial (1909, Slater [1873

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William Rowley - Plays by Rowley

Actor and playwright, born in London, UK. Little is known about him, except that he collaborated with Dekker, Middleton, Heywood, Webster, Massinger, and Ford. Four plays published with his name are extant: All's Lost by Lust, a tragedy (c.1620); A New Wonder, a Woman Never Vext (1632); A Match at Midnight (1633); and A Shoomaker a Gentleman (1638). William Rowley was an English Jacobean dr…

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William Rush

Sculptor and woodcarver, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Remaining in Philadelphia, he was apprenticed as a ship figurehead carver (1771). He then set up his own wood-carving shop and began producing sculptures, including wood portraits, and public works such as Water Nymph and Bittern (1854), a bronze cast from the wood original (1809). He was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Acad…

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William Russell Grace

International businessman and capitalist, born in Queenstown, Ireland. Prevented by his father from joining the Royal Navy, he ran away to sea and then to Peru, where he and his brother, Michael Grace, eventually formed Grace Brothers & Co, a trading company. His health forced him to leave Peru in 1860 and, after travelling around, he settled in New York City (1865) and set up W R Grace & Co. He c…

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William Sacheverell

English politician, sometimes called the ‘First Whig’. He studied law, and entered the House of Commons as member for Derbyshire (1670). He became one of the leaders of the anti-Court party, instrumental in framing the Test Act, which overthrew Charles II's Cabal ministry. Defeated in the 1685 election, he sat in the Convention parliament of 1689 which offered the throne to William III. W…

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William Sampson

Lawyer and Irish patriot, born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK. Admitted to the Irish bar, he was exiled for treason, eventually arriving in New York (1806). An eloquent advocate of personal rights, he championed the movement to codify common law. Among his writings is History of Ireland (2 vols, 1833). William Sampson is a name shared by several notable individuals: …

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William Saroyan - Life, Works, "The Armenian and the Armenian", Assessment, Quotations, Further reading

Writer, born in Fresno, California, USA. He left school at 15, and began writing short stories in the late 1920s. His first volume, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), was a great success, and was followed by a number of highly original novels and plays. He was awarded (but declined) the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Time of Your Life (1939). Among later works are the novel The Hu…

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William Scoresby

Arctic explorer, born near Whitby, North Yorkshire, N England, UK. As a boy he went with his father to the whaling grounds in the Arctic. He studied at Edinburgh University, and published The Arctic Regions (1820), the first scientific accounts of the Arctic seas and lands. In 1822 he surveyed 400 mi of the E coast of Greenland. He later studied at Cambridge, and was ordained in 1825. In 1856 he …

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William Scott

Painter, born in Greenock, Inverclyde, WC Scotland, UK. He studied at Belfast College of Art and at the Royal Academy Schools. After World War 2 he taught at Bath Academy of Art (1946–56). He visited Canada and New York in 1953, meeting Jackson Pollock and other leading Abstract Expressionists. His preferred subject was still-life, painted in a simplified, nearly abstract way. William Scot…

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William Shakespeare - Life, Works, Style, Reputation, Speculations about Shakespeare, Bibliography

Playwright, actor, and poet, the greatest English writer, born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, C England, UK, the son of John Shakespeare, a glover, and Mary Arden, of farming stock. Much uncertainty surrounds his early life. He was the eldest of three sons, and there were four daughters. He was educated at the local grammar school, and married Anne Hathaway, from a local farming family, in …

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William Shakespeare Hays - Biography, Hays and "Dixie"

Song composer, born in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He wrote over 300 songs, many quite popular, including ‘Evangeline’ and ‘My Southern Sunny Home’. Hays was born in Louisville, Kentucky, a town where he would spend most of his life. Hays eventually received the nickname "Shakespeare" for his writings, an appellation he made a formal part of his name. Hays finished scho…

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William Shatner - Biography, References in popular culture, Filmography, Television work, Other work, Books, Discography

Television and film actor, and writer, born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A graduate of McGill University where he studied acting, he was among the original actors in Tyrone Guthrie's Stratford Shakespeare Festival (1954–7). After working on Broadway and in television, he captained the USS Enterprise for television's quintessential science-fiction series, Star Trek (1966–9), and recreated his rol…

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William Shawn

Editor, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. As the New Yorker's managing editor (1939–52), and as its skilled if autocratic editor-in-chief (1952–87), he exercised a strong influence on the magazine's development. William Shawn (August 31, 1907 – December 8, 1992) was an American magazine editor who edited The New Yorker from 1952 until 1987. "Mr. Shawn," as he was nearly always…

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William Shenstone - Life, Critical appraisal, Works

Poet, born in Leasowes, Shropshire, WC England, UK. He studied at Oxford, and in 1735 inherited the estate of the Leasowes, where he spent most of his income on ‘landscape gardening’ (a term he originated) to turn it into a show garden. In 1737 he published his best-known poem, ‘The Schoolmistress’, written in imitation of Spenser. He published The Judgement of Hercules in 1741. His Pastoral B…

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William Shirley

Colonial governor, born in Preston, West Sussex, S England, UK. He went to Massachusetts in 1731, and served as judge of admiralty and then advocate general, before becoming governor of the colony (1741–56). He took a broad view of Britain's colonial policies, and during the war between Britain and France (1744–8) he was perhaps the chief instigator of the operation that led to the English colon…

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William Smith - United States politicians, Other politicians, Other persons

Civil engineer, born in Churchill, Oxfordshire, SC England, UK. In 1794 he was appointed engineer to the Somerset Coal Canal and began his study of the strata of England, introducing the law of strata identified by fossils. His work as a geological engineer involved him in canal and colliery projects throughout the country, and the restoration of the hot springs at Bath. His epoch-making Geologica…

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William Smith O'Brien - Quotes

Irish nationalist, born in Dromoland, Co Clare, W Ireland. He studied at Cambridge, was Conservative MP for Ennis (1825) and Co Limerick (1835) and, though a Protestant, supported the Catholic claims as a Whig. In 1848 he urged the formation of a National Guard and a national rebellion, which ended ludicrously in a battle in the widow McCormack's cabbage garden at Ballingarry in Co Tipperary. Arre…

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William Soutar

Poet, born in Perth, Perth and Kinross, E Scotland, UK. Educated at Perth Academy, he was conscripted into the Royal Navy (1916–19), then studied medicine and English at Edinburgh. His first volume of verse, published anonymously, was Gleanings by an Undergraduate (1923), followed by Conflict (1931). In 1933 he published his first volume of verse in Scots, Seeds in the Wind, for children. This wa…

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William Spottiswoode

Mathematician, physicist, and publisher, born in London, UK. He studied at Oxford, where he lectured in mathematics, and in 1846 succeeded his father as head of the printing house of Eyre & Spottiswoode. He did original work in polarization of light and electrical discharge in rarefied gases, and wrote a mathematical treatise on determinants. William Spottiswoode FRS (January 11, 1825, Lond…

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William Stanley

Electrical engineer and inventor, born in Brooklyn, New York, USA. A lawyer's son, he enrolled at Yale as a pre-law student but soon dropped out and returned to New York. In the early 1880s, working as an assistant to Hiram Maxim and later to Edward Weston, he became interested in electricity. During his tenure as chief engineer for George Westinghouse, he demonstrated the first practical use of t…

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William Stanley Jevons - Background, Theory of utility, The Coal Question, Logic

Economist and logician, born in Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England, UK. He studied chemistry and metallurgy at University College London, and became assayer to the Mint in Sydney, Australia (1854–9). He returned to England and studied logic under Augustus de Morgan at London, becoming professor of logic at Manchester (1866) and professor of political economy at London (1876). He introduced mathema…

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William Steig - Work

Artist, cartoonist, and writer, born in Brooklyn, New York City, USA. He studied in New York at City College (1923–5) and the National Academy of Design (1925–9). In 1930 he began to make wood sculptures and to work as a free-lance artist, notably for the New Yorker. Late in life he began writing as well as illustrating children's books, many of them classics of the genre, such as Roland, The Mi…

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William Steinberg - Conductor and music director

Conductor, born in Cologne, Germany. He was a prominent conductor before being driven from Germany by the Nazis in 1933. From 1945 he had a distinguished career in the USA with the symphony orchestras of Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Boston. William Steinberg conducted and directed many orchestras during his life, including: …

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William Steinitz - Life, Contributions to Chess, Notable chess games

Chess player, born in Prague, Czech Republic. Playing from the age of 12, he dropped out of polytechnic at Vienna to devote himself to chess. From 1862 he settled in London as a professional, supplementing his income as chess editor of The Field. After emigrating to the USA (1883), he worked as a chess writer and editor, and beat Zukertort in the 1886 match organized to decide the first official c…

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William Stevenson

English scholar. He entered Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1546, and became a fellow; he is known to have staged plays there. He was probably the author of one of the two earliest surviving English comedies in verse, Gammer Gurton's Needle (1553), sometimes attributed to John Still or John Bridges (the other being Ralph Roister Doister, also written in 1553 and attributed to Nicholas Udall). …

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William Stokes

Physician, born in Dublin, Ireland. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh (1825) and returned to Dublin, where he became physician to the Meath Hospital, a post previously held by his father, Whitley Stokes. The leading Irish physician of his day, he headed the Irish (or Dublin) school of anatomical diagnosis, which emphasized clinical examination of patients in forming a diagnosis. H…

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William Stubbs

Clergyman and historian, born in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, N England, UK. He studied at Oxford, where he became a fellow of Trinity College. After serving as vicar of Navestock, Essex (1850), he became a diocesan inspector of schools (1860), and professor of modern history at Oxford (1866). Later he was appointed a canon of St Paul's (1879), and Bishop of Chester (1884) and Oxford (1889). Hi…

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William Sturgeon

Electrical engineer, born in Whittington, Lancashire, NW England, UK. He was self-educated in electrical science, and became a lecturer at the Royal Military College (1824). He built the first practical electromagnet (1825), invented the commutator for electric motors (1832), made the first moving-coil galvanometer (1836), and carried out research into atmospheric charge. His Annals of Electricity…

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William Swainson

Naturalist and bird illustrator, born in Hoylake, Cheshire, NWC England, UK. He worked as a clerk, then obtained a post in the army commissariat in Malta and Sicily (1807–15), where he amassed a large collection of zoological specimens. His works included Zoological Illustration (3 vols, 1820–23) and Naturalist's Guide (1822). Swainson's thrush is named after him. William Swainson (Octobe…

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William Symington - Improvements to Watt's Design, Dalswinton Steamboat, The Canal Steamboat, Mines and Mills, More Steamboats

Engineer and inventor, born in Leadhills, South Lanarkshire, WC Scotland, UK. He became a mechanic at the Wanlockhead mines. In 1787 he patented an engine for road locomotion and, in 1788, constructed a similar engine on a boat, having twin hulls with paddle-wheels between. In 1802 he completed at Grangemouth the Charlotte Dundas, one of the first practical steamboats ever built. It was intended a…

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William Tecumseh Sherman - Early life, Civil War service, Strategies, Postbellum service, Death and posterity, Writings

US soldier, born in Lancaster, Ohio, USA. Orphaned at age nine and raised by a prominent Ohio politician, he trained at West Point (1840), saw service in Florida and, during the Mexican War, in California. He stayed there, and in 1853 resigned from the army to become a banker. When the bank failed (1857), he became superintendent of the Louisiana Military Academy, and resigned when Louisiana seced…

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William Temple

Anglican clergyman, born in Exeter, Devon, SW England, UK. He studied at Oxford, was ordained in 1908, and became Bishop of Manchester (1921–9), Archbishop of York (1929–42), and Archbishop of Canterbury (1942–4). An outspoken advocate of social reform, he crusaded against usury, slums, dishonesty, and the aberrations of the profit motive. He was also a leader in the reform of Church structures…

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William Temple Hornaday - Scandal at the Zoo, Influence on Scouting

Naturalist and conservationist, born near Plainfield, Indiana, USA. Raised on farms in Indiana and Iowa, he pursued a childhood interest in wildlife at the Iowa State Agricultural College. A self-taught taxidermist, he built up substantial fauna collections for the National Museum in Washington, DC. In 1896 he became the first director of the New York Zoological Park (the Bronx Zoo) and was an eff…

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William Thomas Beckford - Other works

Writer and art collector, born in Fonthill, Wiltshire, S England, UK. He was the son of William Beckford, twice Lord Mayor of London, who had inherited a vast fortune based on Jamaican sugar plantations. On his father's death (1770) the fortune passed to young William. From 1777 he spent much time on the European mainland, meeting Voltaire in 1778, and later making a grand tour in Flanders, German…

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William Thornton - Early Life and Education, Architect, Superintendent of the Patent Office, Works

Architect and physician, born in Tortola, British West Indies. After emigrating to the USA in 1786, he became a physician in Philadelphia. In 1793 he won the competition to design the US Capitol (1793–1827, completed by others), but his architectural output was otherwise meagre. Dr. William Thornton (May 20, 1759 - March 28, 1828) was an early American inventor, painter and architect who d…

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William Tilghman - Source

Jurist, born in Talbot Co, Maryland, USA. A Loyalist, he sat out the Revolutionary war reading law at his family's estate in Maryland. A member of the Maryland assembly (1788–90) and senate (1791), he moved to Philadelphia to practise law (1795), sat on Pennsylvania's court of appeals (1805), and was chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (1806–27). Trustee of the University of Pennsylv…

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William Torrey Harris - Early life and career, Works

Philosopher and educator, born in North Killingly, Connecticut, USA. The leading American exponent of German philosophy, he was founding editor of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy (1867–93) and wrote works on philosophy and education. He pursued educational reform as St Louis school superintendent (1867–80) and as US Commissioner of Education (1889–1906). William Torrey Harris (10 S…

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William Trevor - Bibliography

Short-story writer, novelist, and playwright, born in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, S Ireland. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, taught history and art, sculpted, and wrote advertising copy before devoting himself to literature. His first book was a novel, A Standard of Behaviour (1958), and though he subsequently gained success with The Old Boys (1964), The Children of Dynmouth (1976, Whitbread), F…

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William Trost Richards

Painter, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. A draftsman, he studied abroad (1853–6), lived in Germantown, PA, then settled in Newport, RI (1890). He is known for his precise seascapes, such as ‘On the Coast of New Jersey’ (1883). William Trost Richards (June 3, 1833 - April 17, 1905) was an important American landscape artist associated with both the Hudson River School and the Ame…

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William Tryon - Early Life and career, American Revolution, Legacy

Colonial governor and Loyalist, born in Surrey, SE England, UK. He served as governor of North Carolina (1765–71) and of New York (1771–5), and later led Loyalist attacks on Connecticut (1780). Although a capable administrator, he was too prone to use force. William Tryon (January 27, 1729 to 1788) was colonial governor of the Province of North Carolina (1765-1771) and the Province of New…

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William Turnbull

Artist, born in Dundee, E Scotland, UK. He studied at the Slade School of Art, London, then lived in Paris (1948–50). He held his first one-man show at the Hanover Gallery, London, in 1950, then taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (1952–72). His sculptures are typically upright forms of roughly human height, standing directly on the floor. In the 1950s he liked organic forms, and tit…

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William Turner - Trivia

Clergyman, physician, and naturalist, born in Morpeth, Northumberland, NE England, UK. A fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, he became a Protestant, and to escape religious persecution in England travelled extensively abroad, studying medicine and botany in Italy. He became Dean of Wells (1550–3), left England during the reign of Mary I, but was restored to Wells in 1560. The author of the first …

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William Vaughn Moody - Early life, In academia, Early Death

Educator, poet, and playwright, born in Spencer, Indiana, USA. He began as a teacher at the University of Chicago (1895–1907), then turned to the theatre. His poetic plays were not produced, but he is known, rather, for his serious social dramas, including The Great Divide (1906). At the time of his premature death, he was regarded as the great hope of a new and mature American school of drama. …

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William Vickrey

Economist, born in Victoria, British Columbia, SW Canada. He studied at Yale, then moved to Columbia University, where he stayed throughout his career. He shared the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1996 for his work in analysing the consequences of incomplete financial information. William Spencer Vickrey (June 21, 1914, Victoria, British Columbia - October 11, 1996, New York State) was a Colu…

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William Walker

Adventurer and filibuster, born in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. He earned degrees in medicine and law but failed to find success practising law, and in 1853 gained notoriety by attempting to seize and govern the Mexican province of Lower California. In 1855 he led a small band of mercenaries to Nicaragua, and after overthrowing the government, he briefly served as president (1856–7). With visions o…

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William Wallace - Uncertain Origins, Scotland in Wallace's time, Military career, Portrayal in fiction

Composer, born in Greenock, Inverclyde, WC Scotland, UK. He trained in medicine, but from 1889 devoted himself to music. He was the first British composer to experiment with symphonic poems, of which he wrote six. His other works include a symphony and songs. William Wallace (c.1270–23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight who led a resistance to the English occupation of Scotland during sig…

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William Wallace - Uncertain Origins, Scotland in Wallace's time, Military career, Portrayal in fiction

Inventor and manufacturer, born in Manchester, Greater Manchester, NW England, UK. He emigrated to the USA with his parents as a boy and settled in Derby, CT. His father went into the wire-drawing business, and William became president upon his death and built a large and flourishing copper, brass, and wire enterprise. In 1874 he introduced dynamo-electric machinery into his factory. Eventually hi…

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William Wallace Barron

US governor and lawyer, born in Elkins, West Virginia, USA. An army veteran of World War 2, he served in the West Virginia house of delegates, becoming attorney general (1957–61). As Democratic governor of West Virginia (1961–5), he became known for tightening controls over strip mining. He later opened a law firm, Barron and Davis, in Charleston, WV. William Wallace Barron was a Democrat…

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William Wallace Campbell - Honors

Astronomer, born in Hancock Co, Ohio, USA. He deduced that the Martian atmosphere could not support life (1894), and wrote The Elements of Practical Astronomy (1899). He worked at California's Lick Observatory (1890–1923), becoming its director in 1901. Working with the Mills spectrograph he measured stellar radial velocities and published them (with Joseph Moore) in a catalogue (1928). He presid…

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William Watson Goodwin

Classicist, born in Concord, Massachusetts, USA. He studied at Harvard (1851 BA) then took his PhD at the University of Gottingen, Germany (1855). He taught at Harvard (1856–1901) and was the first director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (1882–3). His publications include Syntax of Moods and Tenses of Greek Verb (1878) and Greek Grammar (1892), both frequently reprinted an…

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William Weaver - Biography, Translations, Interviews, Awards, Quotes, Sources

Writer, translator, and music critic, born in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. In 1948 he moved to Italy and, as a writer and European newspaper correspondent, eventually became known in America as a lecturer and opera broadcaster. He won international awards for his English translations of French and Italian operas and modern Italian prose, including Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (1983…

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William Webb Ellis - Biography, The legend, Today

British sportsman, and reputedly the inventor of rugby football. According to a rather doubtful tradition, he was a pupil at Rugby School in 1823 when he broke the rules by picking up and running with the ball during a game of association football, thus inspiring the new game of rugby. The only certain sporting fact about him is that he played for Oxford University in the first Varsity cricket mat…

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William Wells Brown - Brown's early years, Abolition orator and writer, Brown's literary works

Reformer and writer, born in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. After adopting the name of the Wells Brown who assisted his escape from slavery (1834), he became a leading abolitionist, lecturing and writing widely on that and other reform causes. His pioneering works of black fiction and history include his autobiography Narrative of William W Brown, A Fugitive Slave (1847) and The Negro in the American R…

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William Wetmore Story - Selected works, Selected writings, Images

Sculptor, poet, and lawyer, born in Salem, Massachusetts, USA, the son of Justice Joseph Story. He studied at Harvard, practised law, and studied sculpture in Italy (1847) before settling there permanently (1856). He wrote poetry and became a close friend of Robert and Elizabeth Browning and Henry James. He is known for his literary interests and related sculptures, such as ‘Cleopatra’ (1858). …

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William Whewell - Early life and career, Scientific generalist, Work in college administration, Whewell's interests in architecture

Scholar, born in Lancaster, Lancashire, NW England, UK. He was a fellow and tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge, and became professor of mineralogy at Cambridge (1828–38), then of moral theology (1838–55). He was made Master of Trinity in 1841, and Vice-Chancellor of the university in 1855. His works include History of the Inductive Sciences (1837), Elements of Morality (1855), and other writing…

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William Whitehead - Life, Poetry and Plays, Poem - The Je Ne Sais Quoi

Poet and playwright, born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, EC England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, where he became a fellow of Clare Hall in 1742. He travelled as tutor to Lord Jersey's son, became in 1755 secretary of the Order of the Bath, and in 1757 was appointed poet laureate. He wrote tragedies, such as The Roman Father (1750), in imitation of Corneille's Horace, and a comedy, School for Lover…

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William Wilberforce - Early life, Parliamentary career, Abolition campaign, War with France, The final phase, Other campaigns, Writings

British politician, evangelist, and philanthropist, born in Hull, NE England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, became an MP (1780), and in 1788 began the movement which resulted in the abolition of the slave trade in the British West Indies in 1807. He next sought to secure the abolition of all slaves, but declining health compelled him in 1825 to retire from parliament. He died in London, one month b…

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William Williams

Painter, born in Bristol, SW England, UK. A seaman, he arrived in Philadelphia (1747), where he began painting and also constructed a theatre (1759). He wrote an autobiographical novel, The Journal of Llewellyn Penrose, a Seaman (1776), and produced fine portraits, such as ‘Deborah Hall’ (1766). He returned to Bristol (1776) and died in an almshouse. William Williams may refer to: …

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William Wilson Corcoran

Banker, art collector, and philanthropist, born in Georgetown, Washington, District of Columbia, USA. He studied at Georgetown College (now university) (c.1814), joined his brothers in a dry goods business (1815), and later established a banking firm, Corcoran & Riggs (1840). In 1854 he retired from banking and devoted himself to collecting 19th-c American works of art. A supporter of the South du…

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William Windom

US representative and senator, born in Belmont, Ohio, USA. A lawyer before going to the US House of Representatives (Republican, Minnesota, 1859–69), he went mid-term to the Senate (1870–83). He practised law in New York City, then became secretary of the treasury (1889–91). William Windom (May 10, 1827 – January 29, 1891) was an American politician. He served in the House from March 4…

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William Woods Holden - Early life, Political career, Governor, 1868 – 71

Journalist and governor, born in Orange Co, North Carolina, USA. A self-educated Whig political writer, he became Democratic editor of the North Carolina Standard (1843), advocating secession from the Union. Switching parties again, as North Carolina's Republican governor (1868–70) he pandered to carpetbaggers, using the militia to suppress his opposition. Impeached for corruption, he returned to…

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William Wordsworth - Biography, Major works

Poet, born in Cockermouth, Cumbria, NW England, UK. Educated at Hawkshead in the Lake District and at Cambridge, he went on a walking tour through France and Switzerland (1790). Back in France in 1790, he witnessed the French Revolution, developing republican sentiments, and had an affair with a French girl, Annette Vallon, by whom he had a daughter. He returned to England at the outbreak of the w…

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William Worrall Mayo

Physician, born in Manchester, Greater Manchester, NW England, UK. He emigrated to the USA in 1845, and after taking his MD from the University of Missouri, he settled in Minnesota Territory (1855). As a prominent physician and surgeon based in Rochester, MN, he helped build St Mary's Hospital there after a destructive cyclone (1885). In 1889 he and his two sons, Charles and William Mayo, founded …

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William Wouldhave

Lifeboat inventor, born in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE England, UK. After being an apprentice to a house painter, he became known as a somewhat eccentric inventor. The wreck of the Adventure in the R Tyne in 1789, causing many deaths less than 300 yards from the shore, led to a local competition to design a lifeboat. Both he and a local boatbuilder, Henry Greathead (1757–1816), submitted des…

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William Wycherley

Playwright, born in Clive, Shropshire, WC England, UK. He studied in France and at Oxford, became a lawyer, then lived as a courtier and turned to writing. He wrote several satirical comedies, notably The Country Wife (1675) and The Plain Dealer (1677), both based on plays by Molière. He was imprisoned for debt, but was finally given a pension by James II. While in France Wycherley convert…

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William Wyler - Trivia, Academy Awards and Nominations, Filmography (as a director)

Film director, born in Mulhouse, NE France (formerly Germany). Invited to America by his mother's cousin Carl Laemmle (1867–1939), the head of Universal Pictures, he worked there on many aspects of film-making before becoming a director of Western shorts and low budget productions. Renowned for his obsessively meticulous approach to composition, performance, and narrative structure, his many succ…

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William Zorach

Sculptor and painter, born in Eurburick-Kovno, Lithuania. His family emigrated in 1891, and settled in Cleveland, OH, where he was apprenticed to a lithographer. He moved to New York City (1907), attended the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design (1908–9) and, after study in France (1910–11), produced Fauvist style paintings. Based in New York, he focused on sculpture (1922), ca…

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Williamsburg

37°17N 76°43W, pop (2000e) 12 000. Independent city and capital of James City Co, SE Virginia, USA, between the York and James Rivers; settled, 1633 (as Middle Plantation, renamed 1699); state capital, 1699–1780; Colonial Williamsburg is a major building restoration scheme; College of William and Mary (1693). Williamsburg is the name of some places in the United States of America: …

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Willibald Alexis

Writer, born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroc?aw, W Poland), of French descent. In 1815 he took part in the wars of liberation and later worked as editor on the journal Berliner Konversationsblatt. Drawing on Tieck and Scott as models, he wrote novels and several novellas that formed a significant bridge from the narrative works of the ‘Junges Deutschland’ movement to those of Realism. Notable work…

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Willie (Howard) Mays - Early years, New York Giants years, San Francisco years, New York Mets years

Baseball player, born in Westfield, Alabama, USA. He played for the New York (1951–7) and San Francisco (1958–72) Giants, and the New York Mets (1972–3). A magnificent fielder, batter, and baserunner, only he and Hank Aaron have performed the double of more than 3000 hits and 600 home runs; he alone has stolen more than 300 bases while compiling more than 400 home runs. He was twice voted the M…

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Willie (Hugh) Nelson

Country music singer and songwriter, born in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Before he was a teenager he sang gospel in a Baptist church and played guitar in polka bands, but he also absorbed both pop and jazz music. Writing songs in Nashville in the 1960s, he helped the country music revival but he did not get much recognition for his own singing. He relocated to Austin, TX and also reconstructed his ima…

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Willie Carson

Jockey, born in Stirling, C Scotland, UK. In 1972 he became the first Scotsman to be champion jockey, and recorded his first Classic success, on High Top, in the 2000 Guineas. He had to wait until 1979 for his first Derby winner, Troy, but immediately won again on Henbit in 1980; he was champion jockey five times, in 1972, 1973, 1978, 1980 and 1983. He rode 3828 winners in his career, including 18…

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Willie John McBride

Rugby union player, born in Toomebridge, Co Antrim, NE Northern Ireland, UK. He played his entire club career with Ballymena. Tall and massively built, he won 63 caps as a lock for Ireland, plus 17 British Lions caps from five tours - both records. After retiring in 1975, he was Irish national coach, manager of the 1983 British Lions team in New Zealand, and a vocal campaigner for contact with Sou…

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Willie Mosconi - Young Mosconi, The Author, 526 High Run, The Hustler (1961), The Mosconi Legacy

Pocket billiards player, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. After pocketing $75 in a Depression tournament, he took the first of many world titles in 1941. A tireless promoter of the game, he was technical adviser for the movie The Hustler (1961), and wrote Willie Mosconi on Pocket Billiards (1959). William Joseph Mosconi aka "Mr. Pocket Billiards" ( June 27, 1913–September 12, 1993…

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Willie Shoemaker

Racing jockey and trainer, born in Fabens, Texas, USA. Only 149·8 cm/4 ft 11 in tall, and weighing 43 kg/95 lb, he won more races than any other jockey - 8833 winners between 1949 and his retirement in 1989. In 1953 he rode a world record 485 winners in one season. He was severely injured in a car accident in 1991, but survived to become a trainer. He also wrote a series of mystery novels an…

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Willis (Haviland) Carrier

Engineer and inventor, born near Angola, New York, USA. Raised on a farm, he attended local schools, won a scholarship to Cornell University to study engineering, and graduated in 1901. The following year, working for the Buffalo Forge Co, he designed a humidity-control machine for a New York printing plant, and went on to become the pioneer of modern air-conditioning systems, with over 80 patents…

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Willis (Jr) Reed

Basketball player, born in Hico, Louisiana, USA. After playing at Grambling College (1961–4), the 6 ft 10 in centre played for the New York Knicks (1965–74) and led the team to National Basketball Association titles in 1970 and 1973. He coached the Knicks and the New Jersey Nets, and in 1981 he was elected to basketball's Hall of Fame. Willis Reed, Jr. (born June 25, 1942 in Bernice, Lo…

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Willis Linn Jepson - Honors and achievements

Botanist, born near Vacaville, California, USA. He spent his career at the University of California, Berkeley (1899–1937), which now holds his extensive notes, library, and herbarium. Known as the ‘dean of California botanists’, he wrote over 200 scientific papers and eight books, including the classic A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California (1925) and the uncompleted A Flora of Californ…

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Willis Rodney Whitney - Early life and studies, General Electrics, Memberships, Awards and titles

Chemical and electrical engineer, born in Jamestown, New York, USA. While teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1896–1904), he began to work with General Electric (GE) (1901) and remained with the firm until 1954, at one stage serving as vice-president (1928–41). He was director of research at GE in Schenectady, NY, where he founded its laboratory and helped make GE a leader in …

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Willis Van Devanter

Judge, born in Marion, Indiana, USA. His involvement in frontier politics led to his appointment as assistant US attorney general (1897–1903) and as a federal judge (1903–10). President Taft named him to the US Supreme Court (1911–37). As a conservative, he often opposed President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal measures. Willis Van Devanter (April 17, 1859 - February 8, 1941) was an Assoc…

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willow

A member of a large genus of mostly N temperate deciduous trees and shrubs; leaves oval or lance-shaped; flowers in separate male and female catkins; seeds plumed with silky hairs for wind dispersal. Willows show a wide range of form, from low, creeping arctic species to large trees, many growing in or near water. They are a source of withies for basketwork, and cricket bats. The bark contains sal…

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willow pattern - Story behind the Pattern, Origin not Chinese

A decorative scene used on pottery table-wares, showing a Chinese landscape, with buildings, and figures crossing a bridge, carried out in blue transfer-printing on white. Purportedly first engraved by Thomas Minton for Thomas Turner at Caughley c.1780, it was subsequently produced by many factories, notably Spode. The Willow pattern is a distinctive and elaborate pattern used on some potte…

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Willy Brandt - Early life, the war, Mayor of West Berlin, Foreign Minister of West Germany

West German statesman and chancellor (1969–74), born in Lübeck, N Germany. He joined the Social Democrats at 17 and, as a fervent anti-Nazi, fled to Norway (1933), where he changed his name. In 1940 he went to Sweden, working as a journalist in support of the German and Norwegian resistance movements. In 1945 he returned to Germany, and was a member of the Bundestag (1949–57). A pro-Western, an…

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Willy Ley - Biography

Rocket scientist and writer, born in Berlin, Germany. After studying science at German universities, he abandoned his plan to be a geologist after reading (1926) a work by the rocket scientist, Hermann Oberth. Ley took the lead in founding the German Society for Space Travel (1927), made it the centre of international activity in rocket research, brought Wernher von Braun and others into the group…

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Willy Messerschmitt - First sailplane designs and WWI, Beginning of his career, Trial and post-war career, Criticism

Aircraft engineer and designer, born in Frankfurt, WC Germany. He studied at the Munich Institute of Technology, and in 1926 joined the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke as its chief designer and engineer. In 1938 the company became the Messerschmitt-Aitken-Gesellschaft, producing military aircraft. His Me109 set a world speed record in 1939, and during World War 2 he supplied the Luftwaffe with its foremo…

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Willy Russell

Playwright, born in Whiston, Lancashire, NW England, UK. He gained popularity with his cheerful but sharp portrayal of Liverpudlian life in such comedies as Stags and Hens (1978) and such musicals as John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert (1974). Among his best-known plays are Educating Rita (1979), Blood Brothers (1983), and Shirley Valentine (1986). His first success was a play about The Beat…

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Wilma (Glodean) Rudolph

Sprinter, born in St Bethlehem, Tennessee, USA. Overcoming childhood polio, she came to prominence as a teenager as part of an athletics team known as the ‘Tennessee Belles’. As a 16-year-old she won a bronze medal at Melbourne in the 1956 Olympic Games, and at Rome in 1960 won the 100 m, 200 m, and sprint relay events, making her the first US woman to win three gold medals for track and field…

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Wilmington - In the United States of America, In the United Kingdom, In Australia

39°45N 75°33W, pop (2000e) 72 700. Seat of New Castle Co, N Delaware, USA; a port at the confluence of Brandywine Creek, the Christina R, and the Delaware R; founded by the Swedes as Fort Christina, 1638; taken by the British and renamed Willington, 1731; renamed Wilmington, 1739; city status, 1832; largest city in the state; airfield; railway; chemicals (‘the chemical capital of the world’)…

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Wilmot Proviso - Effects

(1846) A motion introduced in the US Congress by David Wilmot (Democrat, Pennsylvania) to forbid the expansion of slavery into territory acquired during the Mexican War. It passed the House of Representatives but not the Senate, where the South and the North had equal strength. The debate was a major step in the politicization of the slavery issue. The Wilmot Proviso, first suggested on Aug…

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Wilson (Alwyn) Bentley - Biography, Bibliography

Meteorologist, born in Jericho, Vermont, USA. He spent his life on a farm in Vermont, collecting data from storms and photographing samples of precipitation. His exhaustive studies show that no two snowflakes are alike because the variables surrounding their formation are infinite. Some 2000 of his 5000 snowflake photographs, taken using a microscope and camera, were published by the American Mete…

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Wilson Cary Nicholas

US representative, senator, and governor, born in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. Son of Robert Carter Nicholas, a prominent Virginian official, he served with George Washington's personal guard unit in the closing years of the American Revolution. After serving with the Virginia Assembly (1784–9, 1794–9), he then represented Virginia in the US Senate (Democrat-Republican, 1799–1804) and in the US…

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Wilson Greatbatch - The Chardack-Greatbatch pacemaker, The Greatbatch lithium-iodide battery cell

Electrical engineer and inventor, born in Buffalo, New York, USA. A World War 2 veteran, he studied electrical engineering at Cornell University (1950) and went on to invent the first implantable cardiac pacemaker. He subsequently developed advanced pacemakers and pacemaker power sources. His Greatbatch Enterprises manufactures the majority of the world's pacemaker batteries. Wilson Greatba…

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Wilson Pickett - Discography

Soul singer and song-writer, born in Prattville, Alabama, USA. He began singing in his local church gospel choir and, after moving to Detroit, MI as a teenager, joined a group called the Falcons. In 1963 he embarked on a solo career, securing a deal with Atlantic Records in 1965. He gained overnight success with the single ‘In the Midnight Hour’ (1965) which he co-wrote with guitarist Steve Crop…

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Wilton - Places, People, Other

42º50N 71º44W, pop (2000e) 3700. Town in Hillsborough Co, New Hampshire, USA; situated on the Souhegan R; birthplace of Charles Greely Abbot; Town Hall Theatre (1886). Wilton may refer to: …

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Wiltshire - Etymology, History, Geology, landscape and ecology, Climate, Economy, Demographics, Politics, Settlements, Places of interest

pop (2001e) 433 000; area 3481 km²/1344 sq mi. County of S England, UK; chalk downland of Salisbury Plain at the centre of the county; drained by the Avon and Kennet Rivers; county town, Trowbridge; chief towns include Salisbury, Swindon, Chippenham; Thamesdown a unitary authority from 1997; agriculture, engineering, clothing, brewing; many ancient prehistoric remains, such as Stonehenge, Av…

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Wim Wenders - Filmography

Film director, born in Düsseldorf, W Germany. Originally a student of medicine and philosophy, he attended Munich's Cinema and Television College, where he made his first short film, Schauplatze (1967). He made his feature debut with Summer in the City (1970). Concerned with the influence of American culture on post-war German society, his work deals with isolation and alienation, often involving…

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Wimbledon

Residential district in Merton borough, S Greater London, UK; Wimbledon Common; headquarters of the All England Tennis Club; annual lawn tennis championships (Jun–Jul). Wimbledon may refer to: …

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Winchester - Important buildings, History, Sport, Schools in Winchester, Other information

51°04N 1°19W, pop (2001e) 107 200. City and county town in Hampshire, S England, UK; on the R Itchen, 105 km/65 mi SW of London; Roman settlement the fifth largest in Britain; capital of Wessex in 519, and capital of England in 827; William the Conqueror crowned here as well as in London; Domesday Book compiled here; from the 14th-c the city declined into a small provincial town; railway; en…

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wind - Winds by spatial scale, Winds by effect, Local winds that are tied to specific temperature distributions

The movement of air along the pressure gradient from areas of high to lower pressure; one of the basic elements of weather. Pressure gradients develop through the unequal cooling or heating of a layer of atmosphere. The steeper the gradient, the stronger the wind. Wind direction is also determined by the Coriolis force and by surface friction. The Coriolis force opposes the force of the pressure g…

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wind chill

An effect of wind decreasing the apparent temperature felt by a human body. Strong winds increase the heat loss from exposed flesh, and so at low temperatures may induce hypothermia at a higher air temperature than would occur in calm conditions. The wind chill equivalent temperature relates air temperature to wind speed. For example, an air temperature of ?18°C with no wind would be equivalent t…

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wind shear - Where and when it is observed, Effects on sound propagation, Effects on tropical cyclones

A meteorological term applied to the rate of change of wind velocity. As it changes with height it is known as the vertical wind shear. The amount of shear depends on the temperature structure of the air. Wind shear is a difference in wind speed and/or direction between two points in the atmosphere. Wind shear can affect aircraft airspeed during take off and landing in disastrou…

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Windermere (lake) - Geography, Natural history, Local government, Boating

Largest lake in England, in the Lake District of Cumbria, NW England, UK; extending 18 km/11 mi S from Ambleside; linked to Morecambe Bay by the R Leven; largest island, Belle Isle; remains of 13th-c chapel on Ladyholme. Windermere is the largest natural lake in England, and is entirely within in the Lake District National Park. Windermere is 10½ miles (17 km) long and varies…

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Windermere (town) - Local government

54°23N 2°54W, pop (2000e) 8380. Lakeside resort town in Cumbria, NW England, UK; 11 km/7 mi NW of Kendal, on L Windermere; railway; major tourist centre; 15th-c Church of St Martin; Rydal Mount (10 km/6 mi NW), Wordsworth's home from 1813 to 1850; Brantwood, home of Ruskin. Windermere is a town in Cumbria, England, lying about one kilometre away from the lake of the same name. Althou…

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Windhoek - History, Transportation in the city, Climate

22°34S 17°06E, pop (2000e) 200 000. Capital of Namibia, 1450 km/900 mi N of Cape Town, South Africa; altitude, 1650 m/5413 ft; occupied by South African forces, 1915; capital of German South-West Africa, 1922; airport; railway; administration, meat canning, diamonds, copper, sheepskins (karakul); cathedral. Windhoek, Namibia Windhoek (pronounced «Wind hook» or German "…

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windmill - History, Modern windmills, More images

A mill worked by the action of wind on sails. Windmills have been used principally for grinding corn, cleansing (fulling) cloth, and for drainage. There are three types: post mills, where the mill itself revolves on a central post to face the wind, and tower mills (built of brick) and smock mills (built of timber), where only the cap revolves. Windmills were in common use until the end of the 19th…

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Windsor (Canada) - Structures, Other uses

42°18N 83°00W, pop (2000e) 214 200. Town in S Ontario, Canada, on Detroit R, opposite Detroit, MI; founded, 1835; rapid industrial growth in 19th-c; connected to Detroit by bridge and tunnel; railway; university (1857); vehicles, food processing, pharmaceuticals, paints, salt, distilling; Hiram Walker Historical Museum; Point Pelee National Park to the S (area 15·5 km²/6 sq mi, establishe…

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Windsor (UK) - Structures, Other uses

51°30N 0°38W, pop (2000e) 33 800. Town linked with Eton in Windsor and Maidenhead unitary authority, S England, UK; W of London, on R Thames; railway; Windsor Castle, Eton College (1440); Legoland theme park nearby; Royal Windsor Horse Show (May); horse racing at Royal Ascot (Jun); Eton wall game on St Andrew's Day (30 Nov). …

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Windsor (USA) - Structures, Other uses

35º59N 76º56W, pop (2002e) 2300. County seat of Bertie Co, NE North Carolina, USA; located on the Cashie R, between the Roanoke and Chowan rivers, headwaters of the Albemarle Sound; founded, 1768; William Blount born near here; many 18th-c and 19th-c buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places; County Courthouse (1887); Sans Souci River Ferry still in operation; Hope Planta…

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Windsor Castle - Plan of the castle, Early history (1070—1350), Windsor Castle from 1350, Big Royal Dig

The largest of England's castles, situated on the R Thames at Windsor, S England, UK. It was founded by William I and first used as a royal residence by Henry I. The process of converting Windsor from a fortress into a palace began in the 16th-c. The castle stands on the edge of Windsor Great Park, formerly a royal hunting ground. The principal changes to the castle were made in the early 19th-c, …

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Windward Islands (Caribbean) - Name and geography, British colonial entity

Island group of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea; S of the Leeward Is, from Martinique (N) to Grenada (S), excluding Trinidad and Tobago; so called because of their exposure to the prevailing NE trade winds; formerly the name of a British colony comprising Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Grenada. The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing shi…

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Windward Islands (French Polynesia) - Name and geography, British colonial entity

pop (2000e) 164 000. Island group of the Society Is, French Polynesia; comprises Tahiti, Moorea, and the smaller Mehetia, Tetiaroa, and Tubuai Manu Is; capital, Papeete; coconuts, tourism. The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds in the West Indies (…

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wine - Etymology, Early history, Wine production, Wine grape varieties, Classification of wine, Wine names, Uses of wine

The alcoholic beverage produced from the fermentation of grapes or other fruits. The alcohol content varies from 7% to 13%, but is usually 12%, the point at which fermentation stops. A wine's taste is determined by the type of grape used, the soil in which it is grown, and the local climate. It may be white, red, or rosé, dry or sweet, still or sparkling. White wine can be made from red (or black…

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Winfield Scott - Early life, War of 1812, Nullification and the Trail of Tears, Scott as tactician, Mexican War

US soldier, born near Petersburg, Virginia, USA. A Virginia patrician, he studied law but then joined the US Army. In the War of 1812 he saw considerable action on the Canadian border, was briefly captured, and after being severely wounded in the Battle of Lundy's Lane (near Niagara Falls), he emerged from the war as a national hero. In the peacetime army, he wrote about military tactics and rose …

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Winfield Scott Hancock - Early life and career, Civil War, Gettysburg, Virginia and the end of the war

US general, born in Montgomery Co, Pennsylvania, USA. He trained at West Point, and served through the Mexican War. In 1861, as brigadier-general on the Union side, he organized the Army of the Potomac, was prominent at South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, and took command of the 2nd Corps (1863). Distinguished at Gettysburg (1863), he was conspicuous in the battles of the Wilderness, Spo…

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Winfield Scott Schley

US naval officer, born in Frederick Co, Maryland, USA. He commanded the ‘Flying Squadron’ at the start of the Spanish-American War. In the absence of his commanding officer, William Thomas Sampson, he defeated the Spanish fleet (1898) and his actions led to a lasting controversy with Sampson. A board of inquiry later reported against Schley's actions in the battle (1901). Winfield Scott S…

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Winifred Holtby - Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize

Writer and feminist, born in Rudstone, East Riding of Yorkshire, NE England, UK. She studied at Oxford, and was a director from 1926 of Time and Tide. She wrote a number of novels, but is chiefy remembered for South Riding (1936, James Tait Black). With Vera Brittain she became a prominent feminist. Winifred Holtby (23 June 1898 - 29 September 1935) was an English novelist and journalist. …

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Winnipeg - Geography and Climate, Population, Government, Economy, Transportation, Crime, Sports, Arts and culture, Architecture, Local media

49°53N 97°10W, pop (2000e) 691 000. Capital of Manitoba province, C Canada, on the Red R where it meets the Assiniboine R; established 1738 as Fort Rouge; fur-trading post, 1806; modern name, 1873; expansion after arrival of railway, 1881; severely damaged by flood, 1950; airport; universities (1877, 1967); meat packing, fur trading, textiles, machinery, aircraft parts; professional teams, Win…

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Winona Ryder - Early life, Film career, Shoplifting incident, Filmography, Awards and nominations

Film actress, born in Winona, Michigan, USA. She attended the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and made her film debut in Lucas (1986), and went on to star in Beetlejuice (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), and Mermaids (1990). She received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Age of Innocence (1993), and a Best Actress nomination for her role as Jo in Little Women (19…

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Winslow Homer - Early life, Early landscapes, England, Maine and maturity

Painter, born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Largely self-taught, he began his career as a lithographer and then became an illustrator for popular magazines. Harper's Weekly sent him periodically to cover the Civil War (1861–5), and the resulting drawings and paintings revealed his draftmanship, realism, and unsentimental approach to his subjects, as seen in ‘Prisoners from the Front’ (1866). H…

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Winsor (Zezic) McCay - Biography, Works, Selected comic strips by McCay, Filmography, Books and collections, Quote

Cartoonist and film animator, born in Spring Lake, Michigan, USA. He worked as an illustrator on various newspapers before joining the New York Herald to make his first successful strip, Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend (1904), which was filmed by Edison. He drew under his pseudonym, but used his own name for the successful Little Nemo in Slumberland (1905). His animated films include Gertie the Dinosaur…

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Winston Churchill - Early life, The Army, Parliament, Ministerial office, Career between the wars, Role as wartime Prime Minister

Historical novelist, born in St Louis, Missouri, USA. He trained at the US Naval Academy, then turned to writing. His works include Richard Carvel (1899), The Crisis (1901), and The Crossing (1904). He lived most of his life in New Hampshire. Winston Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an English statesman and author, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom durin…

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wintergreen

A member of a family of small evergreen perennials, native to N temperate and arctic regions; rhizomatous; leaves oval; flowers drooping, bell-shaped, 5-petalled, pink or white. Genus Pyrola (20 species) has alternate leaves and flowers in slender spikes; Orthilia secunda has alternate leaves and flowers in 1-sided spikes; Moneses uniflora has opposite leaves and solitary flowers. (Family: Pyrolac…

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Winterthur - Tourism

47°30N 8°45E, pop (2000e) 90 000. Town in Zürich canton, N Switzerland; near the R Töss in the Pre-Alpine region, NE of Zürich; railway junction; engineering, transport equipment, textiles; town hall (18th–19th-c). Coordinates: 47°30′N 8°45′E Winterthur is a city in the Canton of Zurich in Switzerland. Today Winterthur is a service centre, but many peop…

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Winthrop Paul Rockefeller - Early life, Wealth, Political career, Medical crisis and death

Politician and philanthropist, born in New York City, New York, USA, the great-grandson of John D Rockefeller. He was educated in Switzerland, France, and at Oxford University, England, and graduated from the ranch management school at Texas Christian University. He then undertook volunteer work for over 20 years in the public and private sectors. He was a member of the Arkansas State Police Commi…

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Winthrop Rockefeller - Early life, Move to Arkansas, First political campaigns, Governor of Arkansas, Racial politics

US governor, born in New York City, New York, USA, the grandson of John D Rockefeller. A Yale dropout, he worked for Socony Vacuum Oil (1939–41, 1946–51), with time out to serve in World War 2 and then resigned to head the IBEC Housing Corp, a Rockefeller philanthropy providing low-cost housing. Moving to Arkansas (1953), he started a 3500-acre cattle ranch, also chairing the Arkansas Industrial…

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wipe (photography) - Demonstration

A transition effect in motion pictures or video in which one scene is gradually replaced by the next at a boundary line moving across the picture area, sharply defined (‘hard-edge’) or diffuse (‘soft-edge’). An expanding or contracting circular outline is termed an iris wipe. It is often acknowledged that using a wipe, rather than a simple cut or dissolve is a stylistic choice that inhe…

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Wirtschaftswunder - West Germany

The name given to the rapid economic development of West Germany following the currency reform of 1948. The term Wirtschaftswunder (English: "economic miracle") designates the upturn experienced in the West German and Austrian economies after the Second World War. The West German Wirtschaftswunder was partly due to the economic aid provided by the United States and the Marshall …

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Wisconsin - History, Demographics, Economy, Important cities and villages, Education, Professional sports teams, Miscellaneous topics

pop (2000e) 5 363 700; area 145 431 km²/56 153 sq mi. State in NC USA, divided into 72 counties; the ‘Badger State’; first settled by French traders, 1670; surrendered to the British, 1763; ceded to the USA, 1783 (part of the Northwest Territory); Territory of Wisconsin formed, 1836; 30th state to join the Union, 1848; bounded N by L Superior and L Michigan, E by L Michigan; capital, Ma…

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wisdom literature

In the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, a group of writings, usually including Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, and Job, although the influence of wisdom may also be found in other Biblical stories (eg Esther) and in some of the Psalms. Among the Apocrypha, it also includes Ecclesiaticus (or Sirach) and the Wisdom of Solomon. The literature is usually traced to a special class of sages in Isr…

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wisteria - Cultivation, Species

A deciduous climbing shrub from E Asia and North America; leaves pinnate with oval–oblong leaflets; pea-flowers fragrant, lilac, violet, or white, in long pendulous clusters. It is often grown for ornament, and can reach a considerable age, developing thick, gnarled stems. Commonly grown species include Wisteria sinensis, native to China with lilac-mauve flowers, and Wisteria floribunda from Japa…

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witchcraft - Etymology, Overview, Practices considered to be witchcraft, By location

The alleged possession and exercise of magical or psychic powers, especially involving the manipulation of natural objects or events; often called black magic if harmful to people, white magic if helpful. In Africa, the power of witches is said to be innate, and people may not even know that they are witches. In Europe the Christian Church began persecuting witches in the 14th-c, alleging that wit…

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Witold Hurewicz - Early life and education, Career

Topologist, born in Lodz, Russian Poland. Emigrating to the USA to teach at the University of North Carolina (1937–1945) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1945–1956), he discovered higher homotopy groups and exact sequences and did major work on fibre spaces. Charming and absent-minded, he died after falling off a pyramid in Uxmal, Mexico. Witold Hurewicz (June 29, 1904 - Sep…

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Wittenberg - Theater and Culture

51°53N 12°39E, pop (2000e) 55 700. Town in Wittenberg district, EC Germany; on R Elbe, SW of Berlin; associated with the beginning of the Reformation, 1517; part of Prussia, 1814; railway; university (1817); chemical plants; 16th-c Augustinian monastery where Luther lived; Schlosskirche, to the doors of which Luther nailed his 95 theses. Coordinates: 51°52′N 12°39′E Wi…

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Witwatersrand

Region centred on a ridge of gold-bearing rock in South Africa; length 100 km/60 mi; width 40 km/25 mi; Johannesburg located near its centre; the powerhouse of the South African economy, with many black townships nearby providing a reserve of labour; gold discovered in 1886 (produces about half the world's supply). Witwatersrand is a low mountain range which runs through Gauteng in Sout…

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woad

A biennial or perennial (Isatis tinctoria) with numerous yellow, cross-shaped flowers and pendulous, oblong, flattened, purplish capsules. It has been cultivated since ancient times, but is now reduced to an occasional cornfield weed. The blue dye used by Ancient Britons (and still produced until the 19th-c) is made by exposing part-dried, crushed leaves to the air. (Family: Cruciferae.) …

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Wole Soyinka - Biography, Bibliography

Writer, born near Abeokuta, SW Nigeria. He studied at Ibadan and Leeds, and became a play-reader at the Royal Court Theatre, where his first play, The Invention, was performed in 1955. After returning to Ibadan in 1959, he founded two theatre companies, and built up a new Nigerian drama, in English but using the words, music, and dance of the traditional Yoruba festivals. His writing is deeply con…

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Wolf Biermann - Selected works

Poet and songwriter, born in Hamburg, N Germany, the son of a communist worker killed in Auschwitz. In 1953 he went to the German Democratic Republic, where he studied and was engaged by the Brecht-Ensemble theatrical troupe in East Berlin. His increasingly critical political songs brought him into conflict with the authorities: in 1963 he was expelled from the ruling German Socialist Unity Party …

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wolf spider

A medium-to-large, hairy spider that runs over the ground to capture prey; some burrow or make funnel-shaped webs. (Order: Araneae. Family: Lycosidae, c.3000 species.) The wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae. …

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Life, Works, musical style, and innovations, Myths and controversies, Media, Further reading

Composer, born in Salzburg, C Austria, the son of the violinist and composer Leopold Mozart (1719–87). A child prodigy, he made his first professional tour (as a pianist) through Europe when he was six. He was a prolific composer, and travelled widely, but failed to find a permanent position. After some years in Salzburg as Konzertmeister to the archbishop, he resigned (1781) and settled in Vienn…

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Wolfgang Harich - Publications:

Journalist and philosopher, born in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). In 1945 he joined the Kommunistiche Partei Deutschlands (KPD) and then the Sozialistiche Einheitspartei (SED) in 1946–56. Professor at Humboldt University Berlin (1949), he was publisher and chief editor of Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie. He was imprisoned (1957–64) for his criticism of German Democratic R…

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Wolfgang Hildesheimer - Biography, Work, Awards

Writer, born in Hamburg, N Germany. He emigrated to Palestine in 1933 and moved to London in 1937. During World War 2 he was an information officer for the British in Jerusalem and acted as an interpreter during the Nuremberg Trials. He drew on themes from his early short stories such as Lieblose Legenden (1952) and the novel Paradies der falschen Vögel (1953) for later theatre and radio plays, i…

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