William Robbins Barnes
Co-Founder of Barnes & Noble
Who was William Robbins Barnes?
William Robbins Barnes was a co-founder of the bookselling firm Barnes & Noble. His partner in the venture was his father’s friend Gilbert Clifford Noble. Shortly after the Civil War, William’s father Rev. Charles Barnes was the first to buy a lot in a new town being put together in Illinois just west of Chicago. The town was Hinsdale and it was being created by a man named William Robbins. Robbins created a marketing promotion that offered a free lot to the first boy born in Hinsdale. On May 12, 1866, the Rev. Charles Barnes and his wife Ellen had the winning boy and fittingly named him William Robbins Barnes.
It seems only fitting that among the famous kin of William Barnes is the dictionary publisher Noah Webster. Other literary kin for William Barnes include Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, and Clarence Day. Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Magazine, is also among the kin of William Barnes.
William Barnes is a descendant of Mayflower passenger and Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford. Former U.S. Presidents in his family tree include Franklin Pierce, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, and both Presidents Bush. William Barnes also has a number of celebrity kin including actor Clint Eastwood, TV chef Julia Child, actor Christopher Reeve, actress Sally Field, actor James Spader, singer Grace Slick, actor John Lithgow, singer and actor Bing Crosby, TV host Dick Clark, actress Jodie Foster, singer Janis Joplin and many others.
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