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Schwartz, Delmore (1913-1966)

Delmore Schwartz, born in Brooklyn, was the son of Jewish immigrants from Romania. He learned to read when he was three. When he was nine, his real estate operator father left his wife and children and moved to Chicago.

After studying with Sidney Hook, admirer of Karl Marx and John Dewey, he earned a New York University B.A.…

Delmore Schwartz

Santayana, George (1863-1952)

Biographical Introduction

George Santayana, the professor of philosophy at Harvard University, was a student of William James. He was born in Madrid, Spain. When he was nine, the family moved to Boston. His father was Spanish and soon returned to Spain.…

George Santayana

Reed, John (1887-1920)

Biographical Introduction

For John Silas Reed, the conservative, early twentieth century city of Portland could never be “prepared to understand his dreams” of social revolution and change. Born in 1887, Reed grew up in a stately Portland mansion, attended the Portland Youth Academy and later, boarding school.…

John Reed

Olson, Charles (1910-1970)

Charles Olson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of a letter carrier and his wife, who spent summer vacations by the sea in Gloucester, Massachusetts, thirty miles from Boston. A gifted student at the Worcester Classical High School, Olson won a National Oratorical Contest that entitled him to spend ten weeks in Europe, where he met Irish poet William Butler Yeats.…

Charles Olson

Oakes, Urian (1631-1681)

Biographical Introduction

Another of the poets of Cambridge is Urian Oakes. Born in England, he came to America as a child. After graduating from Harvard College in 1649, he returned to England, where he was a chaplain and minister until the nonconformists were silenced in 1662.…

The second Harvard Seal

Nemerov, Howard (1920-1991)

Biographical Introduction

During World War II, just after his graduation from Harvard College, Howard Nemerov was a fighter pilot, first in the Royal Canadian Air Force and then in the U.S. Air Force. He was discharged as a first lieutenant in 1945.…

Howard Nemerov

Melville, Herman (1819-1891)

In the prologue to his biography of Herman Melville, Lewis Mumford states that Melville shares with Walt Whitman the distinction of being the greatest imaginative writer America has produced. Mumford declares that in depth of religious insight there is no one in the nineteenth century to compare with Melville except Dostoyevsky.…

Herman Melville

MacLeish, Archibald (1892-1983)

Biographical Introduction

A sometime resident in Cambridge, MacLeish graduated from Yale College and experienced U.S. Army action in World War I before graduating from Harvard Law School. He later served as Librarian of Congress and Assistant Secretary of State before becoming the chief of the American delegation of the nations who founded the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).…

Archibald MacLeish

Lowell, Robert (1917-1977)

Biographical Introduction

Born in Boston with an ancestry stretching back to the Mayflower, the Robert Lowell family included Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell and poets James Russell Lowell and Amy Lowell. When preparing for college at St. Marks School in Southborough, Massachusetts, he was encouraged to write poetry by a young teacher, Richard Eberhart.…

Robert Lowell

Lowell, Amy (1874-1925)

Biographical Introduction

The daughter of a “Boston Brahmin” family, Amy Lowell had two brothers: Lawrence, President of Harvard University, and Percival, the astronomer who observed Mars and also established the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. After early education at home, Amy Lowell was an unruly young student at school.…

Amy Lowell