The Vault at Pfaff's
AboutBiographiesWorksSaturday Press

Search >> Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882)

Emerson image 1
More images...

Essayist, Poet, Lecturer.

Born in Boston, Emerson lost his father, a Concord minister, when he was eight years old, leaving the family in difficult circumstances. He was greatly influenced by his aunt Mary Moody Emerson who was deeply committed to the Emerson children’s education. Due to her good attentions, Emerson’s interest in writing grew and he worked his way through Harvard, graduating as class poet in 1821. After college, Emerson taught at a young ladies’ finishing school and then entered divinity school. Following the death of his first wife, he resigned from the ministry over doctrinal differences and began pursuing a literary career. While visiting Europe, he met Romantic poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge as well as John Stuart Mill and Thomas Carlyle.

In 1835 he began delivering lectures on nature and English literature in Boston. He remarried and relocated to Concord this same year. There he became acquainted with many of the writers who became followers of his transcendental ideals such as Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. A philosophy derived in part from European Romanticism, transcendentalism found its most well-known spokesperson in Emerson, especially after the publication of Nature (1836) and "The American Scholar." In the latter, he called for the production of new and distinctly American art and intellectual culture. He actively wrote essays, lectures, and poems during the period known as the American Renaissance (1835-65). In 1840, Emerson also helped to launch The Dial, a magazine for expressing transcendental philosophies and ideas that was edited by Margaret Fuller.

Gay Allen explains that the "luckiest gift of all" was made to Emerson either by Whitman or his "agents" in the form of the first edition of Leaves of Grass (Solitary151). When he read Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in 1855, Emerson hailed it as the first step in a great career and the beginning of the uniquely American voice he was calling for in his lectures and writing. Allen reprints a section of Emerson’s letter that expresses his congratulations to Whitman about Leaves of Grass and that also "greets" him "at the beginning of a great career." The letter also suggests that the two men meet, an event that did not occur until several months after that. Whitman appears to have valued the letter highly (152). Whitman and Emerson met on several occasions in New York and Boston and, on one of Emerson’s visits to Manhattan, Whitman took him to Pfaff’s for dinner. Emerson had his own version of a literary community like that at Pfaff’s, albeit a considerably more sedate one. Emerson’s Boston-based Saturday Club included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Richard Henry Dana, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Robert Lowell.

Emerson died a few weeks after Longfellow and is buried near Thoreau.

[view works by this person]

References & Biographical Resources

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, Mrs. (Lillian Woodman Aldrich). Crowding Memories. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1920. [more about this work]
Mrs. Aldrich recalls that Emerson spoke the night her engagement was announced at the dinner held in honor of Bryant at the Century Club (58).

Emerson was among the lunch party when Bret Harte dined with the Saturday Club in Boston. The party was comprised of the literary notables of Boston (135). [pages: 58,135]
Alexander, J. W. "Essays: by R. W. Emerson." The Princeton Review. Oct. 1841: 539-564. [more about this work]
[pages: 539-564]
Alger, W. R. "Emerson, Spencer, and Martineau." Christian Examiner. May 1868: 257-287. [more about this work]
[pages: 257-287]
Allen, Gay Wilson. The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman. New York: MacMillan, 1955. [more about this work]
Allen writes that a series of lectures Emerson gave on March 7, 1842, in New York, included a lecture on "The Poetry of the Times" and it was reported in the Aurora that Emerson mentioned a piece that was "one of the richest and most beautiful compositions, both for its matter and style, we have heard anywhere, at any time." Allen feels that the Emerson's lecture was most likely commented upon by Whitman, as he later mentioned having heard Emerson lecture in New York at this time (52-53).

Allen mentions Emerson's acquisition of a first edition of Leaves of Grass (151). Allen reprints a section of Emerson's letter that expreses his congratulations to Whitman about Leaves of Grass and that also "greets" him "at the beginning of a great career" (152). Allen also engages in a discussion of what Emerson would have found admirable in Whitman's writing and the stylistic and thematic similarities between the two writers' works. Allen also addresses the significant differences between the two writers (153-156). On October 10, 1855, Whitman allowed Charles Dana to reprint Emerson's letter of endorsement of Leaves of Grass in the Tribune without Emerson's permission. This action was taken as a mildly rude affront by Emerson (173-174).

Allen claims that Emerson likely visited Brooklyn at least once, but Allen feels that the majority of Emerson's visits with Whitman took place in New York. Allen writes that Emerson once wrote of taking Whitman to dinner at a fancy New York hotel and then being escorted by Whitman to "a noisy fire-engine society." Allen claims that if Emerson was not shocked, he was annoyed by their destination. While there is no conclusive proof of where they went, Allen suggests that Whitman might have brought Emerson to Pfaff's (206).

In 1860, Emerson's Boston publishers contacted Whitman and proposed publishing an edition of his poems. Whitman arrived in Boston a month later. Allen claims that Whitman's meeting with Emerson on this visit was "apparently Whitman's first important experience in Boston" and during this conversation, Emerson attempted to peruade Whitman not to publish "Children of Adam." Emerson most likely read the poems in manuscript form and felt that their publication would be a bad idea for several reasons, mainly because they might damage the book's financial success. The two men debated the point for about two hours, and when Whitman refused to yeild, the two men went to dinner. Emerson introduced Whitman at the Boston Athenaeum, the famous library, and got him reading privileges on March 17, 1860. During this period, Whitman was almost invited to Emerson's, Thoreau's, and Alcott's Concord homes, but their wives and sisters objected to the idea (236-238).

Whitman mentioned reading Emerson and Italian opera as the "two greatest influences on his mind and poetry" in May, 1860 (242).

Extra page #s: 291, 311, 341, 347, 359, 405, 428, 442, 461-462, 483, 491, 502, 541, 562(n24), 567(n103), 586(n47) [pages: 52-53, 62, 81, 83, 121, 126, 128-129, 130, 132, 135, 136, 141, 151, 152, 153-156, 169, 170, 172, 173-174, 176-177, 178, 179-180, 184, 188, 206, 207, 2]
Arnold, George. "Journalist and Poet." New York Saturday Press. 7 Oct. 1865: 146-147. [more about this work]
B., J. H. "Ralph Waldo Emerson: History." Southern Literary Messenger. Apr. 1852: 247-255. [more about this work]
[pages: 247-255]
Bartol, C. A. "Poetry and Imagination." Christian Examiner. Mar. 1847: 250-270. [more about this work]
[pages: 250-270]
Bartol, C. A. "Representative Men." Christian Examiner. Mar. 1850: 314-318. [more about this work]
[pages: 314-318]
Bellew, Frank. "Recollections of Ralph Waldo Emerson." Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science. Jul. 1884: 45-50. [more about this work]
Bellew discusses his knowledge of Emerson since their first meeting in 1855. Bellew talks about Emerson's life in New England and his friendships with other writers, especially Hawthorne and Thoreau (45-48).

Bellew also discusses Emerson's reactions to other works of literature and recalls the day Emerson "drew my attention to an unbound volume of poems he had just received from New York, over which he was in raptures. It was called 'Leaves of Grass,' by Walt Whitman. 'I have just written off post-haste to thank him,' he said, 'It is really a most wonderful production, and gives promise of the greatest things, and if, as he says, it is his first writing, seems almost incredible. He must have taken a long run to make such a jump at this'" (49). Bellew recalls that Emerson "read me some passages, raising his eyebrows here and there, remarking that it was hardly a book for the seminary or parlor table."

Bellew mentions that he took a leave of Emerson for two months, after which Emerson was "still enthusiastic over 'Leaves of Grass'" (49). It is during this visit that Bellew informed Emerson that Whitman had published his congratulatory letter in the "Tribune." This seems to have upset Emerson as it "was merely a private letter of congratulation. Had I intended it for publication, I would have enlarged the but very much -- enlarged the but" (49). [pages: 45-50]
Boynton, Percy Holmes. A History of American Literature. New York: Gin and Company, 1919. 513 p. [more about this work]
Boynton discusses the shifting literary centeres of the United States, noting: "With the passing of Irving, Cooper, and Bryant the leadership in American letters was lost to New York. Indeed, by 1850, while all this trio were living, four men in eastern Massachusetts were in full career,-Emerson, Longfellow, Lowell, and Whittier; and before the death of Irving, in 1859, Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Homes came into their full powers" (190).

In regards to the careers of popular New England writers, Boynton states that "They matured slowly. Emerson was past middle life before America heeded him" (191).

"Centering about Concord, but by no means located within it, was a 'Transcendental Movement' of which Emerson is considered the chief exponent" (194).

Boynton provides a description of the activities of the writers associated with the Transcendental movement: "Two undertakings chiefly focused the group activity of the Transcendentalists. The first of these was the Dial, a quarterly publication which ran for sixteen numbers, 1840-1844. The so-called Transcendental Club, an informal group of kindred spirits, came toward the end of the thirties to the point where they felt the need of an 'organ' of their own. After much discussion they undertook the publication of this journal of one hundred and twenty-eight pages to an issue. For the first two years it was under the editorship of Margaret Fuller. When her strength failed under this extra voluntary task, Emerson, with the help of Thoreau, took charge for the remaining two years. Its paid circulation was very small, never reaching two set of publishers, it had to be discontinued, Emerson personally meeting the final small deficit. It contained chiefly essays of a philosophical nature, but included in every issue a rather rare body of verse. The essays reflected and expounded German thought and literature and oriental thought, and discussed problems of art, literature, and philosophy. The section given to critical reviews is extremely interesting for its quick response to the new writings which later years have proved and accepted" (195).

"[...] and Emerson stayed in Concord with the comment: "I do not wish to remove from my present prison to a prison a little larger.... I have not yet conquered my own house. It irks and repents me. Shall I raise the siege of this hen coop, and march baffled away to a pretended siege of Babylon?" (196).

Boynton provides an abridged bio of Emerson. He also provides a descriptions of Emerson's ideals on nature, beauty, living in the present, etc. (199-220).

Boynton also discusses Emerson's friendship with Thoreau (221-222). Boynton highlights that the between Thoreau and Emerson's ideas of independence was "that Emerson discharged his duties in the family and in the state and that Thoreau protested at his obligations to the group even while he was reaping the benefits of other men's industry."
Boyton notes, however, in his comparison of Emerson and Thoreau that the similarity between the two men was that "both were more social in their lives than in their writings."

Boynton writes of Concord: "What the town was by tradition and what it had become through Emerson's influence made it the most congenial spot in America for Hawthorne" (236).

"The philosophy of Gilder was the philosophy of his most enlightened contemporaries. There is in it much of Emerson, whom he called the 'shining soul' of the New World, and there is much of Whitman, though it is not clear whether their likeness does not lie in their common accord with Emerson rather than in direct influence from 'the good gray poet' to Gilder. The immanence of God in nature and in heart of man (see 'The Voice of the Pine'); the unity of all natural law (see 'Destiny'); the conflict between religion and theology (see 'Credo'); and a faith in the essentials of democractic life,- these are the wholesome fundamentals of modern thinking shared alike by Emerson and Whitman and Gilder" (339-340).

"Emerson was the single man of influence to 'greet [Whitman] at the beginning of a great career'" (364).

"Emerson wrote of self-reliance in general, 'Adhere to your act, and congratulate yourself if you have done something strange and extravagant, and broken the monotony of a decorous age.' Yet he remonstrated with Whitman, and in the attempt to modify his extravagance used arguments which were unanswerable. Nevertheless, said the younger poet, 'I felt down in my soul the clear and unmistakable conviction to disobey all, and pursue my own way'; in doing which he bettered Emerson's instructions by disregarding his advice. Hostile or brutal criticism left him quite unruffled. It reenforced him in his conclusions and cheered him with the thought that they were receiving serious attention" (375). [pages: 60, 136, 190, 191, 194 195, 196, 199-220, 221, 222, 223, 225, 227, 229, 230, 232, 236, 252, 279, 287, 288, 293, 311, 339, 340, 364, 369, 375, 453]
Burroughs, John. "A Word on Emerson." The Galaxy. Apr. 1876: 543-547. [more about this work]
Burroughs, John. "A Word on Emerson." The Galaxy. Feb. 1876: 254-260. [more about this work]
Burroughs, John. "A Word on Emerson." The Galaxy. Apr. 1876: 543-547. [more about this work]
[pages: 543-547]
Burroughs, John. "A Word on Emerson." The Galaxy. Feb. 1876: 254-260. [more about this work]
[pages: 254-260]
C. C. W. "A Bohemian." The New York Saturday Press. 16 Sep. 1865: 99-100. [more about this work]
Clapp, Henry Jr. "A New Portrait of Paris: Painted from Life." Saturday Press. 11 Dec. 1858: 1. [more about this work]
R. W. Emerson is listed by Books as an example of how several Americans are referred to by their first initials (1). [pages: 1]
Clapp, Henry Jr. Letter to Walt Whitman. 1860. [more about this work]
Clapp laments, somewhat half-heartedly, that Whitman did not take Emerson's advice to edit out the more sexually charged "Children of Adam" poems from the 1860 Leaves of Grass.
Colton, D. M. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." Continental Monthly. Jan. 1862: 49-63. [more about this work]
[pages: 49-63]
Congdon, Charles T. Reminiscences of a Journalist. Boston: James R. Osgood, 1880. [more about this work]
[pages: 22, 33-35, 116-120]
Derby, J.C. Fifty Years among Authors, Books and Publishers. New York: G. W. Carleton and Co., 1884. [more about this work]
Emerson gave "a characteristic address" at the gathering to celebrate Bryant at the Century Club (158).

Derby also notes that at this time Houghton, Mifflin & Co. were the publishers of Emerson's works, along with other "celebrated writers of prose and poetry" (277).

Emerson included Stedman's "How old Brown took Harper's Ferry" in his "Parnassus" (535). [pages: 89,158,277,280,283,286,289,313,328,339,519,535,582,591,624]
"Died in Bowery Lodgings: Sad Ending of the Career of George G. Clapp." New York Times. 10 Apr. 1893: 3. [more about this work]
Mentioned as having frequented a Boston bookstore where Clapp worked as a clerk when he was a young man. Clapp's stories seem to indicate that the two men were somewhat friendly. [pages: 3]
"Emerson's Essays: Second Series." The Living Age. 18 Jan. 1845: 139-141. [more about this work]
[pages: 139-141]
"Emerson's Essays." The Boston Quarterly Review. Jul. 1841: 291-308. [more about this work]
[pages: 291-308]
"Emerson's Poems." The American Whig Review. Aug. 1847: 197-208. [more about this work]
[pages: 197-208]
"Emerson's Prose Works." Catholic World. May 1870: 202-211. [more about this work]
[pages: 202-211]
"Emerson's Representative Men." The North American Review. Apr. 1850: 520-524. [more about this work]
[pages: 520-524]
F. [Figaro]. "Drum Taps [for the Saturday Press]." New York Saturday Press. 27 Jan. 1866: 51-52. [more about this work]
Felton, C. C. "Essays." Christian Examiner. May 1841: 253-262. [more about this work]
[pages: 253-262]
Figaro [Clapp, Henry Jr.]. "Dramatic Feuilleton." New-York Saturday Press. 7 Apr. 1866: 4. [more about this work]
Emerson is mentioned in a poem of Figaro's published in the Times (4). [pages: 4]
Figaro [Clapp, Henry Jr.]. "Dramatic Feuilleton." New-York Saturday Press. 3 Mar. 1866: 5. [more about this work]
Figaro quotes Emerson in describing how "glad" he feels (5). [pages: 5]
"Figure Heads." New-York Saturday Press. 27 Oct. 1860: 2. [more about this work]
Ford, James L. "Good By Bohemia." The New York Tribune. 1 Oct. 1922: Part 2, Page 1. [more about this work]
Ford describes Emerson as the author the Pfaffians all disliked because "he had referred to their idol, Poe, as 'the jingle man'" (1). [pages: 1]
Gilfillan, G. "Emerson." The Living Age. 15 Jan. 1848: 97-101. [more about this work]
[pages: 97-101]
"Great Writers and Great Talkers." Saturday Press. 20 Nov. 1858: 2. [more about this work]
Emerson is listed as one of the "quiet," "retired" men among literary talkers (2). [pages: 2]
Greenslet, Ferris. The Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1908. 303 p. [more about this work]
Aldrich discusses in a Oct. 31, 1893 letter from Ponkapog to Laurence Hutton how Emerson and Whittier were the only members of their group not thinking solely of themselves: "They were too simple to pose, or to be intentionally brilliant. Emerson shed his silver like the moon, without knowing it. However, we can't all be great and modest at the same moment!" (176).

Aldrich mentions in a letter to Stedman how much he enjoys Emerson's "Bacchus" (197). [pages: 176,197]
Guarneri, Carl J. The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America. Cornell, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994. [more about this work]
Was attracted to the Fourierist community, Brook Farm, in West Roxbury, Mass., that was founded as an offshoot of Transcendentalism. The community was founded in 1841 and converted to Fourierism in 1844 (2). [pages: 2]
Hedge, F. H. "Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson." Christian Examiner. Jan. 1845: 87-106. [more about this work]
[pages: 87-106]
Herford, Brooke. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." The Dial. Oct. 1881: 114-115. [more about this work]
[pages: 114-115]
Lalor, Eugene T. The Literary Bohemians of New York City in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Ph.D. Dissertation, St. John's University, 1977. 364 p. [more about this work]
[pages: 42]
Lalor, Eugene. "Whitman among the New York Literary Bohemians: 1859–1862." Walt Whitman Review. 25(1979): 131-145. [more about this work]
Lalor cites Frederik Schyberg's citation of Emerson that he "had great hopes of Whitman until he became a Bohemian" (133).

Lalor quotes Emily Hahn: "if it hadn't been for Emerson's warm praise and Clapp's stubborn faith, even Whitman's self-confidence might have suffered. As it was, the staff of the Saturday Press made him a cause, publishing his work and declaring his genius" (138). [pages: 133,138]
"Landor and Emerson." The Living Age. 7 Feb. 1857: 371-374. [more about this work]
[pages: 371-374]
Lause, Mark A. The Antebellum Crisis and America's First Bohemians. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2009. [more about this work]
Emerson and his transcendentalist colleagues met Henry Clapp willingly, despite the rumors of the "rowdiness of the crowd at Pffaf's (78). [pages: 78, 85, 119]
Lea, Henry Charles. "Nine New Poets." Southern Literary Messenger. May 1847: 292-306. [more about this work]
[pages: 292-306]
"Lectures and Writings of Emerson." The Living Age. 1 Jun. 1867: 581-594. [more about this work]
[pages: 581-594]
Leland, Charles Godfrey. Memoirs. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1893. [more about this work]
[pages: 77-79, 100, 131, 170, 245, 246, 427]
"Letters and Social Aims." The International Review. Mar. 1876: 294-297. [more about this work]
[pages: 294-297]
Levin, Joanna Dale. American Bohemias, 1858-1912: A Literary and Cultural Geography. Ph.D Dissertation; Stanford University, 2001. 394 p. [more about this work]
Levin discusses the similarities and differences in Emerson's and Clapp's writing and ideological stances (34,35). [pages: 34,35,74,89,95n10]
Levin, Joanna. Bohemia in America, 1858-1920. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010. [more about this work]
[pages: 29, 58, 68]
"Literary Items." Saturday Press. 23 Oct. 1858: 3. [more about this work]
A note on the Atlantic lists R.W. Emerson among the contributors (3). [pages: 3]
"Literary Items." Saturday Press. 30 Oct. 1858: 3. [more about this work]
A note reports that Grozelier has been "engaged" to do a "lithographic portrait" of Emerson (3). [pages: 3]
"Literary Items." Saturday Press. 4 Dec. 1858: 2-3. [more about this work]
A note reporting in the club composed of regular contributors to the Atlantic Monthly that meets monthly at Parker's lists Emerson as a member of the group (2). [pages: 2]
Lowell, James Russell. "James Russell Lowell's Poem at the Monthly Banquet, Boston, May 31, 1859." New York Saturday Press. 4 Jun. 1859: 3. [more about this work]
"Mr. Emerson and Transcendentalism." The American Whig Review. Mar. 1845: 233-243. [more about this work]
[pages: 233-243]
"Mr. Emerson on Shyness." The Living Age. 16 Apr. 1870: 161-175. [more about this work]
[pages: 161-175]
O'Connor, J. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." Catholic World. Apr. 1878: 90-97. [more about this work]
[pages: 90-97]
Odell, George C.D. Annals of the New York Stage: Volume VIII (1865-1870). New York:Columbia University Press, 1936. [more about this work]
Lectured at the (Brooklyn) Athenaeum in the 1865-66 season in December on "Social Aims," "Resources," and "Books and Culture" (113). Emerson repeated these lectures at the New England Congregational Church and added "Classes of Men" and "Success and Clubs." The audiences for these lectures were not large; interest in Emerson seems to have been low that winter (118). During the 1867-68 season Emerson lectured at Packer Institute on "Eloquence," "The Man and the World," and "The Relation of Intellect and Morals" (398). [pages: 113,118,398]
Odell, George Clinton. Annals of the New York Stage: Volume VI (1850-1857). New York: Columbia University Press, 1931. [more about this work]
Appeared at the Lyceum at Williamsburgh. Lectured Feb. 19,1852 (the advertisement for this engagement seems to have been a surprise discovery by Odell in the Gazette); the subject of Emerson's talk is unknown (195).

Emerson is also mentioned in a list of lecturers for a special fall and winter series at the Athenaeum during the 1855-56 season (507). [pages: 195,507]
Odell, George Clinton. Annals of the New York Stage: Volume VII (1857-1865). New York: Columbia University Press, 1931. [more about this work]
Lectured in Brooklyn Jan. 11, 1859, at the Mercantile Library on "Country Life" (197). [pages: 197]
Parry, Albert. Garrets and Pretenders: A History of Bohemianism in America. New York: Covici, Friede, 1933. [more about this work]
Parry wties that "The imbibers at Pfaff's of the 'Fifties took up Poe's fight against the smugness and prosperity of Boston, making an exception, from among all the butts of Poe's hatred, of Emerson only" (9).

Parry mentions that Whitman once brought Emerson to Pfaff's, where Emerson called them "noisy and rowdy firemen and could not understand what bonds they claimed with Walt." Parry also writes that Emerson did not know that Whitman felt himself superior to the Pfaffians and loved the adulation that came from frequenting the bar (38). [pages: 9,38]
"Popular Lectures." New Englander and Yale Review. May 1850: 186-203. [more about this work]
[pages: 186-203]
Porter, N. "Ralph Waldo Emerson on the Conduct of Life." New Englander and Yale Review. Apr. 1861: 496-508. [more about this work]
[pages: 496-508]
"Ralph Waldo Emerson on Conversation." New York Saturday Press. 31 Dec. 1859: 3. [more about this work]
"Ralph Waldo Emerson [from American Monthly]." New York Saturday Press. 5 Aug. 1865: 6-7. [more about this work]
Renehan, Edward, Jr. John Burroughs: An American Naturalist. New York: Black Dome Press, 1998. [more about this work]
[pages: 29, 46-47, 53-55, 65-66, 105-107, 129, 134-136, 143-144, 157, 285-286, 298-299, 308-311]
Sanborn, F. B. "The Homes and Haunts of Emerson." Scribner's Monthly. Feb. 1879: 496-512. [more about this work]
[pages: 496-512]
Seitz, Don Carlos. Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne): A Biography and Bibliography. NY: Harper & Brothers, 1919. [more about this work]
[pages: 3]
Stansell, Christine. "Whitman at Pfaff's: Commercial Culture, Literary Life and New York Bohemia at Mid-Century." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. 10.3 (1993): 107-126. [more about this work]
Stansell notes that the publication of the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855 brought Whitman some literary and critical acclaim from Emerson and others. She notes, however, that by 1858, when Whitman seemed to be returning back to the ranks of the "swarm" of writers in New York, his "great patron" Emerson was at a remove both by distance (in Boston) and in social class. Whitman's "ties to 'literature' were further attenuated" when Emerson distanced himself from Whitman after the "racy second edition of Leaves of Grass" (116). [pages: 116]
Starr, Louis Morris. Bohemian Brigade; Civil War Newsmen in Action. New York: Knopf, 1954. 367 p. [more about this work]
Starr quotes Emerson's description of Greeley: "His entrance into a tavern, much more into a lecture hall, raises gratulating shouts...and I could scarcely keep the people quiet to hear my abstractions they were so furious to should Greeley! Greeley! Greeley! Catch me carrying Greeley into my lecture again!...I had as lief travel with Barnum" (17-18).

Starr writes that during the debates over the "right to report," there was still uneasiness over the presence of reporters. "As late as 1859, Emerson was perturbed by the thought of reporters attending his lectures" (40).

Starr lists Emerson as one of Smalley's friends (139). [pages: 17-18,40,139]
Stedman, Edmund Clarence. Poets of America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1890. 516 p. [more about this work]
Tarbox, Rev. I. N. "Winthrop and Emerson on Forefather's Day." New Englander and Yale Review. Apr. 1871: 175-203. [more about this work]
[pages: 175-203]
"The Conduct of Life." The Living Age. 26 Jan. 1861: 240-242. [more about this work]
[pages: 240-242]
"The Culture of Emerson." The Living Age. 8 Aug. 1868: 358-372. [more about this work]
[pages: 358-372]
"The Emerson Mania." The Living Age. 24 Nov. 1849: 344-356. [more about this work]
[pages: 344-356]
Underwood, F. H. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." The North American Review. May 1880: 479-499. [more about this work]
[pages: 479-499]
Van Doren, Mark. "Ralph Waldo Emerson." Dictionary of American Biography. Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale, 2006. [more about this work]
Walsh, William Shepard. Pen Pictures of Modern Authors. Ill. Jay Charlton. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1882. 333 p. [more about this work]
On Emerson as a Lecturer: "[...] Emerson's voice is up to his reputation. It has a curious contradiction, which we tried in vain to analyze satisfactorily,-an outwardly repellent and inwardly reverential mingling of qualities which a musical composer would despair of blending into one. It bespeaks a life that is half contempt, half adoring recognition, and very little between" (86-87).

Miss Bremer about her Visits to Emerson: "[...] He is a very peculiar character, but too cold and hypercritical to please me entirely; a strong clear eye, always looking out for an ideal which he never finds realized on earth; discovering wants, shortcomings, imperfections; and too strong and healthy himself to understand other people's weaknesses and sufferings, for he even despises suffering as a weakness unworthy of higher natures" (90).

Also from Miss Bremer: "Pantheistic as Emerson is in his philosophy, in the moral view with which he regards the world and life he is in a high degree pure, noble, and severe, demanding as much from himself as he demands from others. His words are severe, his judgment often keen and merciless, but his demeanor is alike noble and pleasing, and his voice beautiful. One may quarrel with Emerson's thoughts, with his judgment, but not with himself" (92),

Hawthorne's Description of Emerson: "Uncertain, troubled, earnest wanderers through the midnight of the moral world beheld his intellectual fire as a beacon burning on a hill-top, and climbing the difficult ascent, looked forth into the surrounding obscurity more hopefully than hitherto" (95).

Also from Hawthorne: "I felt that there were no questions to be put, and therefore admired Emerson as a poet of deep beauty and austere tenderness, but sought nothing from him as a philosopher" (96). [pages: 86-97]
"Walt Whitman [from the New Orleans Delta]." New-York Saturday Press. 14 Jul. 1860: 1. [more about this work]
Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Abby M. Price, March 29, 1860." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 49-50. [more about this work]
Whitman relates that Emerson called upon him immediately after he arrived in Boston, showed him around the city, and took excellent care of him. [pages: 49]
Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, January 17, 1863." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 68-70. [more about this work]
The letter is addressed to Emerson. [pages: 68-70]
Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Sarah Tyndale, June 20, 1857." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 42-44. [more about this work]
Whitman notes that his third edition of Leaves of Grass will not contain any notes to or from Emerson. [pages: 44]
Willis, Nathaniel Parker. "Emerson." The Living Age. 9 Mar. 1850: 457-460. [more about this work]
[pages: 457-460]
Wilson, James Grant and John Fiske, eds. Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume II, Crane-Grimshaw. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1888. [more about this work]
In chronicling Emerson's career between the years of 1855-1865, Appleton cites his efforts for various social issues, such as women's rights and the abolitionist movement: for example, his campaigning for John G. Palfrey as the free-soil candidate for the governorship of Mass. [pages: 343-348]
Winter, William. Old Friends; Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1909. 407 p. [more about this work]
Winter notes that "the august luminaries of literature,--Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, Emerson, Whittier, Whipple, etc.,--clustered around" "The Atlantic Monthly," started in 1857 and edited by Frank Underwood. Winter states that "The Atlantic Monthly" "speedily led the field, in literary authority" during this early period. This group was also know to frequent and old bookstore at the corner of Washington and School streets in Boston, where James T. Fields was the "presiding genius" (55).

Winter remembers Emerson as one of the literary authorities during his early days as a poet and writer in Boston and Cambridge (107).

Winter says of Taylor: "He was in no way ascetic. He loved the pleasures of life. No man could more completely obey than he did the Emersonian injunction to 'Hear what wine and roses say!'" (177).

Of Curtis's influences, Winter states: "The benign and potent but utterly dispassionate influence of Emerson touched his responsive spirit, at the beginning of his career, and beneath that mystic and wonderful spell of Oriental contemplation and bland and sweet composure, his destiny was fulfilled" (235). Curtis later cited Emerson's Darthmouth College oration as an example of his idea of "a supreme specimen of eloquence" for Senator Roscoe Conkling. Conkling's opinion differed from Curtis's, however, and the senator found no "peculiar force" in the oration. Winter reprints the passage Curtis cited, p. 250-250, and states that Emerson's words were Curtis's doctrine (250-251).

Winter states: "The poetic voice of Emerson was not of the human heart, but the panthesitic spirit" (236).

Winter includes Emerson's remarks on poetry in a discussion on what the "masters" have said: "Emerson has told us that the sexton, ringing his church bell, knows not that the great Napoleon, far off among the Alps, has reined his horse and paused to listen" (304).

Winter reprints a letter Curtis wrote him dated March 29, 1882, from Staten Island, that discusses Longfellow's death. After describing the funeral and other matters, Curtis writes: "I do not forget that it was at Longfellow's we met, and our mutual regard has the benediction of his gracious memory. The fathers are departing. I saw Emerson stand by the coffin and look at the dead face. But, in his broken state, the dead looked happier than the living" (347-348).

When discussing differences of opinion among writers as to who has talent, Winter remarks, "Emerson, usually centered in himself, was able to perceive poetry in Whitman" (154). [pages: 55,107,154,177,235,236,250-251,265,302,304,347-348]
Wolle, Francis. Fitz-James O'Brien: A Literary Bohemian of the Eighteen-Fifties. Boulder, Col.; University of Colorado, 1944. 309 p. [more about this work]
Wolle quotes his description of Bohemians as "persons open to the suspicion of irregular and immoral living" (98). [pages: 98]

Conditions of Use | Contact: Edward Whitley at

Lehigh University Digital Library