Henry Chadwick, sportswriter, historian

Henry Chadwick (1824 – April 20, 1908) was a sportswriter, baseball statistician and historian, often called the “Father of Baseball” for his early reporting on and contributions to the development of the game. He edited the first baseball guide that was sold to the public. He was born in England and moved to Brooklyn with his family at the age of 12. He began to write music and to teach piano and guitar, somewhat against the education he received in commerce and finance. As an adult he played cricket and rounders for amusement and began writing about the games for local newspapers.  He came across organized baseball… Read More

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Hippolyte Havel, writer, anarchist

Hippolyte Havel (1871–1950) was a anarchist from Czechoslovakia. He was friends with Emma Goldman. He lived in Greenwich Village, which he declared to be “a spiritual zone of mind”. When young, he had been imprisoned by the Austria-Hungary government for his anarchistic activities and declared insane. He was imprisoned, eventually moved from the insane asylum to a regular prison and escaped to England. Ms. Goldman brought him to NYC. Mr. Havel was married to the anarchist Polly Holliday, who with him ran a restaurant on Washington Square in Greenwich Village frequented by radicals and artists. He worked there as a waiter, often calling customers “bourgeois… Read More

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Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, architect, writer

Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867 – 1944) was an architect and pioneer in social housing who co-authored the 1901 New York tenement house law. His most important contribution to NYC may have been his  The Iconography of Manhattan Island, a six volume compilation he worked on for over 20 years and published between 1915 and 1928. It became one of the most important research resources about the early development of the city. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, Concord, and Berkeley School in New York City before graduating from Harvard in 1891. He later took post graduate courses at Columbia University and then in Italy and at… Read More

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Wilhelm Christian Weitling, writer, tailor, inventor

Wilhelm Christian Weitling (1808 – 1871) was a tailor, inventor, and radical political activist. He immigrated from Germany and invented attachments for commercial sewing machines like devices for double-stitching and the button holes. Prior to his inventions, these had been done by hand and kept many families afloat with piece work by the women and children of poor areas in NYC. Weitling was raised in dire poverty, while his mother made a meager living as a maid and cook. His father, who never married his mother, was killed in war before Wilhelm turned 5.  His education was limited to elementary school and any… Read More

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Ned Buntline, author, instigator

Edward Zane Carroll Judson Sr. (1821 or 1823– 1886), known as E. Z. C. Judson and by his pseudonym Ned Buntline, was an American publisher, journalist, writer, and publicist. He was born and died in the Western Catskill area of Upstate New York, but his time in the city was filled with adventure. He ran away from home and served as a cabin boy and ended up on board a Navy vessel. He rescued the crew of a boat that had been run down by a Fulton Ferry in the East River and received a commission,  because of his bravery, as a midshipman in the Navy from  the president in 1838, and… Read More

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Charles Austin Beard, Historian

Charles Austin Beard (1874 – 1948) was born in Indiana, expelled from Quaker school, finally graduated from High School and eventually ran the area newspaper with his brothers. He attended DePauw University, running the newspaper there and graduating in 1898. He continued his studies at Oxford in 1899 and returned to the US with his wife in 1902 where he studied at Columbia University. He received his doctorate in history in 1904 and immediately joined the faculty as a lecturer.  In order to provide his students with reading materials that were hard to acquire, he compiled a large collection of essays and excerpts… Read More

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William Dunlap, Artist, manager of Park Theater

William Dunlap (1766 – 1839) was a pioneer of American theater. He was a producer, playwright, and actor, as well as a historian. He was an artistic painter and managed two of New York City’s earliest and most prominent theaters, the John Street Theatre (from 1796–98) and the Park Theatre (from 1798–1805). In 1783, he produced a portrait of George Washington, now owned by the United States Senate. He studied in Europe for a few years, but returned to New York in 1787 and worked exclusively in the theater for 18 years, returning to painting only when economically necessary. He produced more than sixty plays, most adaptations or translations… Read More

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