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HIS BIRTH Leonardo Da Vinci, the many-sided genius of the Italian Renaissance, was born, as his name implies, at the little town of Vinci, which is about six miles from Empoli and twenty miles west of Florence. Vinci is still very inaccessible, and the only means of conveyance is the cart of a general carrier and postman, who sets out on his journey from Empoli at sunrise and sunset. Outside a house in the middle of the main street of Vinci... more...

CHAPTER I. OLIVER'S FIRST PROTECTORATE CONTINUED: SEPT. 3, 1654-JUNE 26, 1657. Oliver's First Protectorate extended over three years and six months in all, or from December 16, 1653 to June 26, 1657. The first nine months of it, as far as to September 1654, have been already sketched; and what remains divides itself very distinctly into three Sections, as follows:— Section I:—From Sept. 3, 1654 to Jan. 22, 1654-5. This Section,... more...

PRELIMINARY: MRS. GASKELL In the whole of English biographical literature there is no book that can compare in widespread interest with the Life of Charlotte Brontë by Mrs. Gaskell.  It has held a position of singular popularity for forty years; and while biography after biography has come and gone, it still commands a place side by side with Boswell’s Johnson and Lockhart’s Scott.  As far as mere readers are... more...

PREFACE This work is based on the article on Shakespeare which I contributed last year to the fifty-first volume of the ‘Dictionary of National Biography.’  But the changes and additions which the article has undergone during my revision of it for separate publication are so numerous as to give the book a title to be regarded as an independent venture.  In its general aims, however, the present life of Shakespeare... more...

His Childhood and Youth. B.C. 356-336 The briefness of Alexander's career. Alexander the Great died when he was quite young. He was but thirty-two years of age when he ended his career, and as he was about twenty when he commenced it, it was only for a period of twelve years that he was actually engaged in performing the work of his life. Napoleon was nearly three times as long on the great field of human action. His brilliant exploits.... more...


CHAPTER I Toward the end of the summer of 1917 it was very hot in New York, and hotter still aboard the transatlantic liner thrust between the piers. One glance at our cabins, at the crowded decks and dining-room, at the little writing-room above, where the ink had congealed in the ink-wells, sufficed to bring home to us that the days of luxurious sea travel, of a la carte restaurants, and Louis Seize bedrooms were gone—at least for a... more...

INTRODUCTION I This collection of slave narratives had its beginning in the second year of the former Federal Writers' Project (now the Writers' Program), 1936, when several state Writers' Projects—notably those of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina—recorded interviews with ex-slaves residing in those states. On April 22, 1937, a standard questionnaire for field workers drawn up by John A. Lomax, then National Advisor on Folklore... more...

MY COMMERCIAL ANTECEDENTS—HOW I GOT INTO PRISON. In the beginning of the year 1856 I commenced business on my own account, as a merchant in a Northern City. Previous to that time I had been engaged in an unsuccessful partnership, but I paid my creditors in full with the small capital advanced to me by my friends for the purpose of my new adventure. When I began operations, therefore, I was literally without a shilling in the world, but I... more...

I. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. (BORN 1706--DIED 1790.) HIS FAME STILL CLIMBING TO HEAVEN--WHAT HE HAD DONE AT FIFTY-TWO--POOR RICHARD'S ADDRESS. The late Judge Black was remarkable not only for his wit and humor, which often enlivened the dry logic of law and fact, but also for flashes of unique eloquence. In presenting a certain brief before the United States Supreme Court he had occasion to animadvert upon some of our great men. Among other things... more...

CHAPTER I ZICRON-JACOB Thirty-five years ago, the impulse which has since been organized as the Zionist Movement led my parents to leave their homes in Roumania and emigrate to Palestine, where they joined a number of other Jewish pioneers in founding Zicron-Jacob—a little village lying just south of Mount Carmel, in that fertile coastal region close to the ancient Plains of Armageddon. Here I was born; my childhood was passed here in... more...