Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1875, Byers studied to become an electrical engineer at the University of Michigan. He went on to complete one year of graduate work at Harvard University before leaving to work as an electrical engineer for the U.S. Commission at the Paris Exposition, from 1900 to 1901. Byers then left Europe to teach linguistics at the North American Academy in Montevideo, Uruguay. By 1910 Byers was back in the United States, employed by Santa Monica High School, as the head of the Modern Language Department.
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