Self-Taught

The Imaginary Landscapes of Henri Rousseau

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After decades as a customs inspector, Henri Rousseau picked up a brush and taught himself to paint. He submitted his work to the official Salon, but they rejected him for lack of skill. Rousseau refused to give up.

Dracula and a Tale of Two Late Bloomers

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Gerry O’Hara had a long and colorful career working on films such as Exodus and The Cardinal by Otto Preminger. At 87, he published his first book, Sherlock Holmes and Affair in Transylvania.

Grandma Moses on Creatively Keeping Busy

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“Painting’s not important. The important thing is keeping busy.” Words of wisdom from 101 years of living and she didn’t even start painting until age 76!

Come MOOC With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be

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Almost every major university now offers Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). I’m taking “Archaeology’s Little Secrets.”

The Magnificent Folly of Mary Somerville

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Mary Somerville’s father feared for her sanity. Why couldn’t she interest herself in music and fashion magazines? But no, Mary wanted to be a mathematician, and in the end, Oxford named a college after her.

Frank McCourt: Those Who Can, Teach

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Frank McCourt taught English in New York high schools for 27 years before writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, Angela’s Ashes, at age 66. “I refused to settle for a one-act existence.”

Who’s Bill Gates’ Favorite Teacher?

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Salman Khan makes high-quality education available to anyone, one video at a time. Bill Gates’ kids thinks he’s the bomb.

Freya Stark: The Last Romantic Explorer, Pt. 2

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Freya Stark has been called “the last of the romantic explorers.” She lived to 100, but didn’t start her adventures until age 35, after many hardships. Part 2 of 2.

Was Ben Franklin A Late Bloomer?

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Franklin’s achievements still electrify. He was a printer, statesman, activist, inventor and diplomat. By 26, he was a best-selling author. But when he came to following his life’s calling, you might consider him a late bloomer.

Heinrich Schliemann & the Truth About Troy, Pt. 2

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Heinrich Schliemann–discoverer of Homer’s Troy, self-taught polyglot, self-made man. Admirable accomplishments. But did he go too far with Agamemnon’s mask?