Calvin comes from a family that has never specialized in one occupation, more than any other. His relatives have included farmers, fishers, sailors, shopkeepers, circus performers, scientists, laborers and service people of virtually every kind... if you can think of a job, chances are that someone at some point in the family history has done it. However, Calvin's father, the head of the family at the time the surname law was passed in 904, happened to be a barber; hence the name he chose for his family.
Calvin himself joined a local gang called the Manticores in 884, at age 14. He quit in 888, choosing to pursue a career in the church. (He'd become a spirit-talker at age 16, but it wasn't until two years later that he saw it as a calling, rather than just a hobby.) He became active in the local church's efforts to reform delinquent youths in Olek, though over the years, the kids in the gangs he talked to knew he'd once been in a gang himself, so they respected him more than they did most other spirit-talkers. And in fact, he treated them more respectfully than his fellow spirit-talkers tended to do. It was because of this that they trusted him when, in 899, he told the latest generation of gangsters about The Order's Plan, which involved encouraging gangs from different villages to begin getting more serious and forming alliances.
(Note: the following is known only to a few Landians, and as such, this paragraph should not be seen as appearing on the Sylph Swarm.) In 900, not long after Amelia incorporated the Manticores into InterGang, she was looking for someone to send to Monab as a spy. Marcel, the head of the Manticores, suggested Calvin. After meeting with him, she agreed he seemed a good fit for the job, and Calvin agreed with her explanation of why her gang should have a spy in Monab. So, he moved there during the 900 Pilgrimage. Not long after that, he formed a loose alliance with two rival spies: Luther Smith of the Black Profits, and Armin Steadfast of LandOrder. In 912, the three of them uncovered evidence that Bishop Kizin Planner's death two years earlier, supposedly of natural causes, was actually murder by Durell Turner.