Tabb, John Banister

Tabb, John Banister (1845 - 1909)


Father Tabb (John Banister Tabb) was born at "The Forrest," in Mattoax, near Richmond, Virginia, on March 22, 1845. Despite bad eyesight, he served on the Robert E. Lee steamer for the South in the Civil War and was imprisoned by the North in Point Lookout prison. After the war, he taught at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, and Racine College, Michigan. He left the Anglicanism and entered the Catholic Church September 8, 1872. Educated first at St. Charles College, in Ellicot City, Maryland, from 1872 to 1875, he taught for some years, 1877-78, at St. Peter's Boys' School, Richmond, and then at St. Charles College, until entering St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, in 1881. He graduated as a priest on December 20, 1884. From that year until his death, Father Tabb was chair of English at St. Charles College. (The College, burned down in 1911, relocated in Catonsville up to 1969, when St. Charles closed.) His amusing Bone Rules, or Skeleton of English Grammar was published in 1897. His lyrics appeared in eleven collections from 1882 to 1910. Beautifully crafted, accessible to everyone, Father Tabb's poems enjoyed a wide audience. He became totally blind in 1908. He died a confederate on November 19, 1909, and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. His niece Jennie produced a loving biography and appreciation in 1922.

  • Hayes, Kevin J. "Tabb, John Banister." American National Biography Online. American Council of Learned Societies: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • The Poetry of Father Tabb: John Banister Tabb. Ed. Francis A. Litz. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1927. PS 2965 A2 1928 Robarts Library
  • "Tabb, John Banister." The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol. XIII. New York: James T. White, 1906. 249-50.
  • Tabb, Jennie Masters. Father Tabb: His Life and Work. Boston, Mass.: Stratford, 1922. PS 2968 T3 1922 Robarts Library
  • Tabb, John Banister. Bone Rules, or Skeleton of English Grammar. New York : Benziger Bros., 1897. PE 1113 .T33 1897 Robarts Library
  • --. Child Verse. 1899.
  • --. Later Lyrics. 1902.
  • --
  • Later Poems. 1910.
  • --. Lyrics. Boston: Copeland and Day, 1897. PS 2967 .L9 Robarts Library
  • --. An Octave to Mary 1893.
  • --. Poems. 1882.
  • --. Poems. 1894.
  • --. Quips and Quiddits: Ques for the Qurious. Boston: Small Maynard, 1907. PS 2967 Q5 1907 Robarts Library
  • --. The Rosary in Rhyme. Boston: Small Maynard.
  • --. A Selection from the Verses of John B. Tabb. 1906.
Given Name
John Banister
Family Name
Birth Date
March 22, 1845
Death Date
November 19, 1909
  • Teacher

  • Priest

Literary Period
Literary Movement
First RPO Edition