Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803 - 1882)


Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston and attended Boston Latin School from 1812 to 1817, and Harvard from then to 1821. His first career, as a school-teacher, lasted four years, after which he was licensed to preach as a Unitarian. In 1829 he was ordained minister of Second Church in Boston and married his first wife, Ellen Louisa Tucker. After her death from consumption in 1831 Emerson left the Second Church and went to Europe, where he made first contact with writers in England with whom he would visit again in 1872. His third career, as a lecturer and man of letters, began in 1834. The year after, he made his home in Concord, Massachusetts, and married his second wife, Lydian Jackson, a year later. By the publication of Nature in 1836, Emerson had made his reputation. While editing The Dial, he brought out his collections of Essays (1841, 1844). Between his two volumes of poems, Poems (1846) and May-Day and Other Pieces (1867), he published major works such as Representative Men (1850), English Traits (1856), and The Conduct of Life (1860). He also edited Parnassus (1874), an anthology of his favourite poems. Emerson died in Concord, April 27, 1882, of pneumonia and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord.

  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Collected Poems and Translations . New York: Library of America, 1994. PS 1624 A1 Robarts Library
  • --. May-day and Other Pieces. London: G. Routledge, 1867. PS 1624 .M3 Robarts Library
  • --. Poems. 1846: London: Chapman, 1847. PS 1624 .A1 Robarts Library
  • The Poetry Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ed. Ralph H. Orth. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986. PS 1624 .A1 1986 Robarts Library
  • Richardson, Robert D., Jr. Emerson: the Mind on Fire: a Biography. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1996.
Given Name
Ralph Waldo
Family Name
Birth Date
May 25, 1803
Death Date
April 27, 1882
Family Relations
wife : Ellen Louisa Emerson
wife : Lydian Emerson
  • Boston Latin School

  • Harvard University

Literary Period
Literary Movement
Cause of Death
First RPO Edition