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George H. Healey attended West Virginia University, where he received a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1932 and a master's degree in 1935. In 1940 he became an instructor at Cornell University, and received his Ph.D. from that institution in 1947. He became curator of the Department of Rare Books at its inception in 1957, and continued to teach English at Cornell. Healey published books on William Wordsworth, James Joyce, and Daniel Defoe while developing collections of their works and papers for the Rare Books Department at Cornell.