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Albert Bigelow Paine
WHEN Dr. S. P. Langley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, established the Children’s Room in that great museum, he took for his motto, “Knowledge begins in wonder,” and he put into this room a selection of specimens especially intended to excite interest in the young mind. The biggest bird and the littlest were placed side by side; curious eggs, nests, and insects—not many in number, but temptingly displayed—were ranged about to attract attention and to awake the desire to know more. It was the same Dr. Langley who had once declared that his chief interests in life were children and fairy stories, and it is in the little Washington room that we seem to find the thought embodied, for the children are there, and the fairy stories of nature are suggested on every hand.
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Albert Bigelow Paine (1861-1937) was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Committee and was decorated as Chevalier in the Legion of Honor by France. He lived and traveled with Mark Twain for four years and was his literary executor, all of which culminated in this biography, The Boy’s Life of Mark Twain, A Short Life of Mark Twain, and Mark Twain’s Letters. His other biographies include those on Thomas Nast, one of the Texas Rangers, and a New York banker, and he also wrote travel and children’s books.
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