Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Issue Date: March 15, 2007
City: New York, NY
Quantity Issued: 30,000,000
“Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere....”
The man who wrote these lines, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82), was born in Portland, Maine. He was the most famous American poet of the 1800s.
Longfellow’s longer works include Evangeline (1847), which established him as a popular narrative poet, as well as The Song of Hiawatha (1855) and The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858).
Sent to school at only three years old, Longfellow published his first poem at the age of 13. He graduated from college at 18. After studying in Europe, he took a position in 1829 as Bowdoin College’s first professor of modern languages. In 1837, Longfellow began teaching at Harvard. He settled and remained in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the rest of his life. In 1854, he retired from teaching to concentrate on writing.
The poet’s first book, a collection of European travel sketches, came out in 1835. His first volume of poetry appeared in 1839, and his next, Ballads and Other Poems (1841), contained poems like “The Village Blacksmith,” that became familiar to generations of Americans.
“Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands....”