Kilmer, Joyce, 1886-1918

Alternative names
Birth 1886-12-06
Death 1918-07-30

Biographical notes:

Kilmer was an American poet who died in World War I.

From the description of Papers, 1904-1905. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122468920

From the guide to the Joyce Kilmer papers, 1904-1905., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)


From the description of Typewritten letter signed : New York, to Dr. Arthur Jacobson, 1916 Feb. 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270923821

Journalist and poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and educated at Rutgers and Columbia. He worked for the Standard Dictionary, later became a writer and reviewer for the New York Times, and wrote poetry. In 1913 he published Trees, and the immense popularity of the poem gave him a national reputation and the opportunity to write and lecture to a wide audience. He also published several more volumes of poetry; his early work was influenced by Yeats, his later work by his conversion to Catholicism in 1913. When the United States entered World War I, Kilmer enlisted as a private, eschewing officer's training to join the fighting more quickly; he fought bravely in Europe, and was killed in France in 1918. He was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre.

From the description of Joyce Kilmer letter to Miss Colson, 1917 [i.e., 1918] Jan. 13. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 64582050

Dorothy C. Alyea, poet and civic leader, of Montclair, New Jersey. She was a fellow of the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, won the first prize at the Rochester Festival in 1967, and in 1973 won the membership contest of the Poetry Society of America. Her poetry appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines; she also published two books of poetry: All my argument, 1935, and Beach fire, 1951.

From the description of Trees [art original] / Joyce Kilmer ; [with postage stamp collage border attributed to Dorothy C. Alyea] [between 1922 and 1938?] (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 316885629

Poet, editor and essayist.

From the description of Papers of Joyce Kilmer, 1910-1941 (bulk 1911-1918). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84401787

Alfred Joyce Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, N.J., on Dec. 6, 1886, the son of Frederick Barnett Kilmer and Annie (Kilburn) Kilmer. His early education, like that of his future wife, was at the Rutgers College Grammar School. After graduation in 1904 he attended Rutgers College and Columbia University, where he received the A.B. degree in 1908, the same year he married Aline Murray. Joyce and Aline Kilmer would have five children, two of whom, Rose and Michael, would die during childhood. In 1913, after several years on the staff of the 'Standard dictionary', Kilmer began writing for the 'New York times', working on the Sunday magazine section and the review of books. While at the 'Times' he continued to contribute articles to magazines, write prefaces to books, and lecture on contemporary letters. His principal interest, however, was in poetry and 'Summer of love', his first volume of verse, was published in 1911. This was followed by 'Trees and other poems' in 1914. The title poem, which had first appeared in 'Poetry: a magazine of verse' in 1913, became known worldwide. For decades 'Trees' was included in the introduction to poetry given most American school children. Another book of verse, 'Main street and other poems', was published in 1917. Other books by Kilmer are 'The circus, and other essays' (1916), 'Literature in the making' (1917), and 'Dreams and images: an anthology of Catholic poets' (1917). Aline and Joyce Kilmer had been received into the Catholic Church in 1913 following a crisis of faith prompted by the illness of their daughter Rose. They remained fervently interested in Catholic affairs and literature for the rest of their lives. Joyce Kilmer's popularity as a writer and lecturer prompted some to refer to him as the 'laureate of the Catholic Church'. When the United States entered World War I, Kilmer enlisted in the Seventh Regiment of the New York National Guard, but was later transferred to the 165th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army. He died in France during the 2nd Battle of the Marne at the end of July, 1918, and was buried near where he fell. Kilmer was posthumously awarded the 'Croix de guerre' by the government of France.

Aline Murray Kilmer was born on Aug. 1, 1888, in Norfolk, Va., the daughter of Ada Foster Murray, a poet, and Kenton C. Murray, editor of the 'Norfolk landmark' newspaper. She was educated at the Rutgers College Grammar School, New Brunswick, N.J., and the Vail-Deane School, Elizabeth, N.J. In 1908 she married Joyce Kilmer and they subsequently had five children together. Like her mother and husband, Aline Kilmer was a poet. Her first book of verse, 'Candles that burn', was published in 1919. It was followed by 'Vigils' (1921) and 'The poor king's daughter, and other poems' (1925). She was also the author of several books for children and a collection of essays. Aline Kilmer died on Oct. 1, 1941 in Stillwater, N.J.

From the description of The Joyce Kilmer papers, 1907-1980 (bulk 1917-1941). (Georgetown University). WorldCat record id: 232301110


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  • American literature--Catholic authors
  • Poets, American
  • Postage stamps in art--Specimens
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • American literature--20th century
  • College stories, American
  • American poetry--20th century
  • Poetry
  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Male authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Superstition


  • Poets
  • Essayist
  • Editors


  • Frances, 05, AU
  • New Brunswick, NJ, US