Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1807-12-17
Death 1892-09-07
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

John Greenleaf Whittier was a wildly popular New England poet. A deeply committed and active abolitionist, he wrote many of his poems with a political agenda, although distinguished by an open-minded tolerance so often lacking in his fellow abolitionists. Although his works are somewhat marred by overtly political and overly sentimental works, the core of his output stands as fine, lyrical American verse.

From the description of John Greenleaf Whittier letters, 1858 and 1876. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 52184774

Poet and abolitionist; of Massachusetts.

From the description of Letters, 1860-1879. (Portsmouth Athenaeum Library & Museum). WorldCat record id: 70927218

John Greenleaf Whittier, an American writer, was born in 1807 in Haverhill, Massachusetts to John and Abigail Hussey Whittier. He had little formal schooling until he entered the Haverhill Academy in 1827. His first poem was published in 1826 in William Lloyd Garrison's newspaper "Free Press." His poems were also published weekly in the "Haverhill Gazette." In 1829, he became editor of "The American Manufacturer", and published his first book in 1831. Following his meeting with Garrison in 1833, Whittier became a strong abolitionist. In 1835, he was elected to the Massachusetts General Court. He spoke at many anti-slavery rallies, wrote for abolitionist newspapers and championed the formation of the Republican Party. In his later years, he published many volumes of poetry and served as a political consultant to a number of Republicans. He died on September 7, 1892, in Hampton Falls, Massachusetts.

From the guide to the Letter : Center Harbor, N. H. to Lucy Larcom. Centre Harbor, N. H. to Lucy Larcom MS 0007., 11 Aug. [between 1884 and 1892], (Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections)

Whittier, American Quaker poet and abolitionist.

From the description of [Postcard, letter, etc., 1869-1878] / John G. Whittier. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 469120373

John Greenleaf Whittier, a New England Quaker poet, journalist, and abolitionist, was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts on December 17, 1807. Among Whittier's many writings, his abolitionist poems were a powerful influence in rallying public sentiment against slavery. His poem "The Kansas Emigrants" (or "The Kansas Emigrant Song") was issued as a broadside in 1854, printed on card stock, and was sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne" by groups of emigrants to Kansas Territory. From 1876 until the year of his death, Whittier made his home at Oak Knoll in Danvers, Massachusetts. He died on September 7, 1892 at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, and was buried in the Union Cemetery at Amesbury, Massachusetts.

From the guide to the The Kansas Emigrants, original unpublished manuscript, undated; circa 1854, (University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas Collection)

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was an American poet and abolitionist. Samuel Thomas Pickard (1828-1915) was an editor of the Portland (Me.) Transcript. He was married to a niece of Whittier's and became Whittier literary executor and biographer.

From the guide to the Pickard-Whittier papers, 1815-1915., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Poet and abolitionist.

From the description of John Greenleaf Whittier papers, 1833-1937. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981239

American poet and abolitionist.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Amesbury, Mass., [to the editors of The Critic, Jeannette L. and Joseph B. Gilder], 1884 Aug. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270586733

From the description of To Oliver Wendell Holmes : autograph poem : [Massachusetts], 1892 Aug. 29. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 646068165

From the description of Letter, ca. 1880. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122351551

American poet.

From the description of Letter to Oliver Wendell Holmes [manuscript], 1883 November 11. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647851003

From the description of Autograph letter signed from John Greenleaf Whittier to Mrs. Stella Lilly, undated. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 162101777

From the description of ALS and photograph : Danvers, Mass., to an unidentified correspondent, 1886 Feb. 2. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122645504

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Oak Knoll, Danvers, Mass., to "my dear friend," 1886 [Mar. or May] 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 528887639

From the description of Autograph letters signed (2) : Amesbury and "Friend Street", to the Rev. John Pierpont, 1841 Nov. 12-1853 Feb. 4. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270588715

From the description of My birthday : manuscript copy of the poem, [1872 or later]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270589797

From the description of Barbara Frietchie : autograph manuscript copy of the poem signed, [1863 or later]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270589064

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Amesbury, to the J.R. Osgood Co., 1872 Nov. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270586729

From the description of Letter, Danvers, Mass., to Celia Thaxter [manuscript] 1878 November 29. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647942931

From the description of Moll Pitcher. A poem : contemporary manuscript : [n.p.], [ca. 1832]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870183

From the description of Papers, 1870-1958. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 20504495

Whittier was an American poet and abolitionist.

From the description of Miscellaneous papers, 1831-1890. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 83656782

From the description of John Greenleaf Whittier additional papers, ca. 1823-1889. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612371765

From the description of Miscellaneous compositions, 1833-1875. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122520478

From the guide to the John Greenleaf Whittier additional papers, ca. 1823-1889., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

From the guide to the Miscellaneous papers, 1831-1890., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

From the guide to the Miscellaneous compositions, 1833-1875., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

American Quaker poet.

From the description of Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier [manuscript], 1852-1883. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647869622

John Greenleaf Whittier was a New England Quaker poet, born in Amesbury, Massachusetts. His early poems reflect his involvement in anti-slavery politics. He served in the state legislature, edited The Pennsylvania freeman (1838-1840), published verse in the 1850s, and during the 1860s contributed to The Atlantic monthly, which he had helped to found. His later works include: Home Ballads (1860), In war time and other poems (1864), and "Barbara Frietchie" and the very successful Snow-Bound (1866). Whittier spent his later years, after 1876, in Danvers, Massachusetts, where he lived with female cousins.

From the description of John Greenleaf Whittier letters and poem, 1868-1879. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 65223197

John Greenleaf Whittier was born near Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1807 and published his first volume of poetry in 1831. Whittier edited several newspapers and found time to engage in politics, while remaining an active Quaker all his life. A close friend of William Lloyd Garrison, he considered slavery a great evil and supported abolition, often at cost to his personal safety. Whittier died in New Hampshire in 1892.

From the description of [Dedication leaf] 1887 August 7, [to] John H. Snodgrass, Marietta, Ohio / J.G. Whittier. (University of South Florida). WorldCat record id: 75965015

Whittier is called the "fireside Poet". He was born on Dec. 17, 1807 in Mass. His first poem was printed in 1826. In 1827-1828 while teaching school he had his first prose article published and edited the American Manufacturer, a political paper. In 1831 his first book was published. In 1833 his abolitionist article began to be published. He was elected to the Mass. Legislature in 1835. He was active as a Quaker abolitionist politician and lobbyist in NY, Pa., and Mass. After the publication of his poem Snow-bound in 1866, nearly every volume he published was a best seller. He died on Sept. 7, 1890, recognized in his lifetime as one of America's foremost poets. The Clarke also has numerous books and poems written about or by Whittier. (For further information see the finding aid.).

From the description of Papers, 1829,1892. (Clarke Historical Library). WorldCat record id: 41492395

Johnson was at this time associate editor of the publication and Beecher was the editor.

From the description of ALS, 1873 December 31 : Amesbury, [MA] to Oliver Johnson. (Haverford College Library). WorldCat record id: 18249891

John Greenleaf Whitter (1807-1892) was an American poet, editor and abolitionist. Born in Massachusetts, Whittaker spent his youth on a Quaker farm. His discovery of Robert Burns led to his career as a poet. His major works include: Snow-bound, The Pennsylvania Pilgrim and Other Poems, and The Tent on the Beach and Other Poems. Among his patrons was William Lloyd Garrison, who gave Whittier his first editorial job at a Boston newspaper and published some of Whittier's poems in The Liberator. Whittier was also active in politics and worked to help form the Republican party.

From the guide to the John Greenleaf Whittier Letters, 1859-1888, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

American Quaker poet, advocate of the abolition of slavery, usually listed as one of the Fireside Poets.

From the description of John Greenleaf Whittier collection, 1858-1892. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 26631900

Epithet: American poet

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001152.0x000214

John Greenleaf Whittier was an American poet, essayist, journalist, politician, and writer of hymns and antislavery literature.

From the description of John Greenleaf Whittier collection of papers, 1833-1904 bulk (1851-1892). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122615591

From the guide to the John Greenleaf Whittier collection of papers, 1833-1904, 1851-1892, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was an American poet and abolitionist. Samuel Thomas Pickard (1828-1915) was an editor of the Portland (Me.) Transcript. He was married to a niece of Whittier's and became Whittier's literary executor and biographer.

From the description of Pickard-Whittier papers, 1815-1915. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122564006

Whittier was one of the founding members of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Elizur Wright was editor of the Quarterly Anti-Slavery Magazine, 1835-37.

From the description of ALsS, 1881-1883, Danvers, [MA]. (Haverford College Library). WorldCat record id: 29305852

John Greenleaf Whittier was born on the family farm in Haverford, Massachusetts, in 1807, the son of devout Quakers. When he was fourteen, a teacher introduced him to Robert Burns' poetry, and he was inspired to begin writing his own. In 1826, his sister submitted one of his pieces to the Newburyport Free Press. Editor William Lloyd Garrison visited the farm and tried to persuade Whittier's father to send him to school, but was turned down. The next year, however, Haveford Academy opened, and Whittier was able to cover his tuition by making shoes and teaching. Two years later, Garrison managed to get Whittier the editorship of American Weekly, and Whittier used the position to promote his own Quaker-based political views. In 1835, he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, but he did not pursue a political career after this position. Over the next decades, while continuing to write poetry, he became a leader of the abolition movement. By the 1870's, he was so popular that celebrations were held on his birthday. Whittier died in 1892.

More information is available in the American National Biography, CT213 .A68 1999, or the American National Bibliography Online.

From the guide to the John Greenleaf Whittier Letter (MS 165), 1890, (University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.)

The son of two devout Quakers, John Greenleaf Whittier was born and raised on the family farm on December 17, 1807, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His first published poem, "The Exile's Departure," was published in William Lloyd Garrison's Newburyport Free Press in 1826. At Garrison's urging, Whittier attended Haverhill Academy from 1827 to 1828, while supporting himself as a shoemaker and schoolteacher.

A Quaker devoted to social causes and reform, Whittier worked passionately for a series of abolitionist newspapers and magazines. In Boston, he edited the American Manufacturer and the Essex Gazette before becoming editor of the New England Weekly Review. Whittier was also active in his support of National Republican candidates; he was a delegate in 1831 to the national Republican Convention in support of Henry Clay, and he himself ran unsuccessfully for Congress the following year.

His first book, "Legends of New England in Prose and Verse", was published in 1831. For the next thirty years until the Civil War, Whittier wrote essays and articles as well as poems that were concerned with abolition. In 1833 he wrote "Justice and Expedience" urging immediate abolition. In 1834 he was elected as a Whig for one term to the Massachusetts legislature. The folowing year he was mobbed and stoned in Concord, New Hampshire, for his beliefs. In 1836 Whittier moved to Amesbury, Massachusetts where he worked for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Later while working as the as editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman, in May 1838, the paper's offices were burned to the ground and sacked during the destruction of Pennsylvania Hall by a mob.

Whittier helped to establish the antislavery Liberty party in 1840 and ran for the U.S. Congress in 1842. In the mid-1850s he helped form the Republican party, supported the presidential candidacy of John C. Frémont in 1856, and helped to found the Atlantic Monthly in 1857.

The Civil War inspired the famous poem, "Barbara Frietchie," but with slavery abolished in 1865 Whittier turned his attention to topics of religion, nature, and rural life. His his most popular work, Snow-Bound (1866) sold 20,000 copies, enough to leave Whittier and his extended family without financial need.

In the early 1880s, he formed close friendships with Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909) and Annie Fields (1834-1915), both well-known New England authors. For his seventieth birthday dinner in 1877, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and William Dean Howells were in attendance. While Whittier's critics often considered him to be just an average poet, they thought him a nobel and kind man whose verse gave unique expression to ideas they valued. Whittier passed away at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, on September 7, 1892.

From the guide to the Bruce E. Graver collection on John G. Whittier, 1831-1890, (Phillips Memorial Library, Special and Archival Collections)

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Subjects:

  • Abolitionists--Biography--Sources
  • Poets, American
  • Manuscripts--English
  • Occultism
  • Poets, American--19th century--Autographs
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Slavery--19th century
  • Authors, American--19th century--Archives
  • Slavery
  • Marriage proposals
  • Civil war--Poetry
  • Friendship
  • American poetry--19th century
  • Women in literature
  • Authors and publishers
  • Authors--Political and social views
  • Authors, American--Correspondence
  • American poetry--Women authors
  • Manuscripts
  • Buena Vista, Battle of, Mexico, 1847
  • Authors
  • Literature
  • God--Meditations
  • Clergy
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848--Poetry
  • Women authors
  • Literature--American Poetry
  • Women's rights
  • American literature--19th century
  • Poets, American--19th century--Correspondence
  • Freedmen
  • Editors
  • Abolitionists--Correspondence
  • Society of Friends--17th century
  • Abolitionists
  • Poets, American--Correspondence
  • Poems
  • Poets, American--19th century
  • Poetry
  • Authors, American
  • Newspapers
  • Scrapbooks
  • Slavery--History--19th century
  • Abolitionists--History
  • Slave trade--History--19th century
  • Antislavery movements

Occupations:

  • Poets, American
  • Abolitionists
  • Women poets, American--New Hampshire--Portsmouth
  • Editors
  • Poets
  • Poets--United States

Places:

  • Danvers (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • New Hampshire--Portsmouth (as recorded)
  • Boston (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Iowa--Keokuk (as recorded)
  • Egypt (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Rhode Island--Providence (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Haverhill (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Argentina (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Salem (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Edgbaston, Warwickshire (as recorded)
  • Portmouth (N.H.) (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New England (as recorded)