Biographer Philip Guedella often lectured on the art of writing biography. He used to say that a biographer’s most difficult task is finding out what kind of person his subject really was. And then he would describe what he had done when preparing his biography of the Duke of Wellington. In order to find really hard evidence of Wellington’s true character, he delved into the Duke’s old checkbooks. He said that in the process of going through the check stubs and the cancelled checks, he was able to discover the man’s deepest concerns.

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