Whittier, John Greenleaf

Whittier, John Greenleaf (1807 - 1892)


Born December 17, 1807, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, John Greenleaf Whittier, inspired by reading Robert Burns, wrote and published poems in local journals beginning in 1826. After a two-year education at Haverhill Academy, Whittier embarked on a lifelong career of journalism, editing one newspaper after another. A committed abolitionist, and a delegate to the first Anti-Slavery Convention in 1833, he won election to the state legislature in 1835, ran for Congress on the Liberty party platform in 1842, and regarded himself as a founder of the Republican party. His volumes of poems were many:

  • Legends of New England in Prose and Verse (1831)
  • Poems (1838)
  • Lays of my Home and Other Poems (1843)
  • Songs of Labor (1850)
  • The Chapel of the Hermits (1853)
  • The Panorama and Other Poems (1856)
  • Home Ballads (1860)
  • In War Time and Other Poems (1864; PS 3259 I6)
  • Snow-Bound (1866)
  • The Tent on the Beach (1867)
  • Among the Hills (1869)
  • Miriam and Other Poems (1871)
  • Hazel-Blossoms (1875)
  • The Vision of Echard (1878; PS 3269 .V4)
  • Saint Gregory's Guest (1886)
  • At Sundown (1890)
  • Poetical Works, 7 vols. (1888-89)

Snow-Bound, especially, sold 20,000 copies. He published many poems in the newspapers he edited, including the Atlantic Monthly, which he helped found. He nearly married, several times, but retired to Danvers in 1876 to live with his cousins. Many notable literary men, including Mark Twain, honoured him at a party on his 70th birthday in 1877. Harvard awarded him an honorary degree in 1886. He died on September 7, 1892, at Hampton Halls, New Hampshire, and was interred at Amesbury. See also

  • Letters, ed. John B. Pickard (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1975), 3 vols. PS 3281 .A3 1975
  • Von Frank, Albert J. Whittier: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1976). Z 8972 .V65.
  • Wagenknecht, Edward, John Greenleaf Whittier: A Portrait in Paradox (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967). PS 3281 W3 Erindale College Library.
Given Name
John Greenleaf
Family Name
Birth Date
December 17, 1807
Death Date
September 7, 1892
  • Haverhill Academy

  • Journalist

Literary Period
Literary Movement