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William H. Prescott (1796-1859) is regarded as not only the first American scientific historian, but also one of the best historians of the nineteenth century. A Massachusetts native, Prescott was educated at Harvard University, though he wasn't ever recognized as an outstanding student. During a food fight while he was a student at Harvard, Prescott was hit with a crust of bread, injuring his eye. It proved to be a problem that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Despite this disadvantage, he developed an incredibly vivid and precise memory. This quality is apparent in The "History of the Conquest of Peru", as the South American imagery is dense with detail and emotion. His studies of South America and other Hispanic regions were very well received during his lifetime and are still widely read and regarded incredibly important by today's historians.

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