Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1868-08-23
Death 1950-03-05
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Edgar Lee Masters was an American poet, novelist, biographer, and essayist.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters collection of papers, 1919-1949. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 86164224

From the guide to the Edgar Lee Masters collection of papers, 1919-1949, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

Masters was an Illinois poet best known for the Spoon River Anthology.

From the description of Papers, 1922-1926. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 304436194

Benjamin De Casseres (1873-1945), a journalist and author, worked for various New York City newspapers writing columns and editorials. He also wrote poetry, fiction, essays, and critical reviews.

From the guide to the Benjamin De Casseres papers, 1893-1945, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

American poet.

From the description of Anne Rutledge : [n.p.] : autograph fair copy of the poem signed, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270605220

From the description of Papers, 1910-1942. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122482474

American writer.

From the description of Page proofs [manuscript], 1935-1939. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647830957

From the description of Papers of Edgar Lee Masters [manuscript], 1935-1984. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647812895

From the description of Letters of Edgar Lee Masters [manuscript], 1924-1945. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647806393

Contains correspondence from Ellen Coyne Masters, wife of Edgar Lee Masters.

From the description of Correspondence with Theodore and Helen Dreiser, 1912-1950, n.d. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155892117

Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950), poet, novelist, and biographer, was born in Kansas and raised in Illinois. He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and practiced law for many years in Chicago, including a stint with Clarence Darrow, 1903-1911. However, his true vocation was writing; over a period of nearly thirty years he produced more than forty books of poetry and prose, including biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Vachel Lindsey, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain. His most famous work was Spoon River Anthology (1915), first published the previous year as a series of 244 epitaphs in free verse in Reedy's Mirror of St. Louis under the pseudonym Webster Ford. He was married twice, to Helen Jenkins in 1898 and to Ellen Frances Coyne in 1923, and had four children. However, from 1931 to 1944 he lived alone in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City where he became acquainted with Alice Davis (later Tibbetts). Masters died in 1950 in Melrose, Pennsylvania.

From the guide to the Masters-Davis collection, 1928, 1930-1977, 1936-1944, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

American novelist, biographer, poet, dramatist, and historian.

From the description of Letters, 1922-1947. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 233117081

American poet and novelist.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters letter to George Sterling [manuscript], 1926 March 6. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647833870

From the description of Letters, 1928-1942. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 122492862

Edgar Lee Masters was born in Garnett, Kansas on August 23, 1869. He died on March 5, 1950, in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania. An acclaimed and prolific poet, Masters achieved his greatest recognition for his book Spoon River Anthology (1915). He has been the subject of several works of biography and criticism.

From the guide to the Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950) Papers, ca. 1927, (Northwestern University Archives)

Poet and author of Spoon River Anthology, first published in 1915, as well as numerous other poems, plays and books grew up in Petersburg, Illinois and moved with his family to Lewistown, Ill. where he read for the law and became a lawyer. He married Helen Jenkins of Chicago in 1898 and went to work with Clarence Darrow. He and Helen had three children. He met Lillian Wilson, a rich widow, in 1919 and had a long affair with her. He and Helen divorced in 1923 and he moved to New York. In 1926 he married Ellen Coyne. He remained lifelong friends with Edwin R. Reese of Lewistown and then Chicago. He was also acquainted with many writers, including George Sylvester Vierick, who was accused of anti-semitism during WWII.

From the description of Papers, 1924-1942. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 52751207

Edgar Lee Masters, 1868-1950. Wrote 12 plays, 21 books of poetry, 6 novels, and 6 biographies.

From the description of Poems / by Edgar Lee Masters ; deposited in the Library of Congress, June 16, 1936. [1936] (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 662161906

American author.

From the description of Letter to Lucille Boyd [manuscript], 1936 December 26. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647812105

Author and poet.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters papers, 1926-1941. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70983920

Edgar Lee Masters, an American poet, novelist, and biographer, is best known as the author of SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY (1915).

Born in Garnett, Kansas, in 1868, he maintained a successful law practice in Chicago, Illinois, from 1892 to 1920, and made his debut as a poet in 1898 with A BOOK OF VERSE. After retiring from practicing law, he devoted himself entirely to writing. He died in Philadelphia on March 5, 1950.

From the description of Edgar Lee Masters collection, 1915-1983. (Peking University Library). WorldCat record id: 63051645

Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950), poet, novelist, and biographer, was born in Kansas and raised in Illinois.

He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and practiced law for many years in Chicago, including a stint with Clarence Darrow, 1903-1911. However, his true vocation was writing; over a period of nearly thirty years he produced more than forty books of poetry and prose, including biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Vachel Lindsey, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain. His most famous work was Spoon River Anthology (1915), first published the previous year as a series of 244 epitaphs in free verse in Reedy's Mirror of St. Louis under the pseudonym Webster Ford. He was married twice, to Helen Jenkins in 1898 and to Ellen Frances Coyne in 1923, and had four children. However, from 1931 to 1944 he lived alone in the Chelsea Hotel in New York City where he became acquainted with Alice Davis (later Tibbetts). Masters died in 1950 in Melrose, Pennsylvania.

From the description of Masters-Davis collection, 1928, 1930-1977, bulk (1936-1944). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122455283

Edgar Lee Masters was born in Garnett, Kansas, on August 23, 1868, but soon after his birth his family moved to Lewistown, Illinois, the town near Springfield where Masters grew up. His youth was marred by his father's financial struggles with a faltering law practice and reluctance to support his son's literary interests. Masters attended Knox College for a year but was then forced by the family's finances to withdraw and continue his studies privately. He was admitted to the bar in 1891, and he moved to Chicago in 1892, where he found a job collecting bills for the Edison Company . He gradually built a successful law practice, and for eight years he was the partner of Clarence Darrow . In 1898 he published his first collection, A Book of Verses, and married Helen Jenkins . His first books, some of which were published under pseudonyms, showed strong influences from the English Romantic poets and Edgar Allan Poe.

During this time Masters considered writing a novel about the relationships of people in a small Illinois town. This idea was transformed through a chance acquaintance. Masters had been submitting poems to Marion Reedy, the editor of Reedy's Mirror in St. Louis . While Reedy didn't publish these poems, he kept up the correspondence and gave Masters a copy of J. W. Mackail 's Selected Epigrams from the Greek Anthology . After reading these, Masters felt the challenge to adopt the idea for his novel into this form, combining free verse, epitaph, realism, and cynicism to write Spoon River Anthology, a collection of monologues from the dead in an Illinois graveyard. The Spoon River of the title is the name of an actual river in Illinois, but the town combines Lewistown, where Masters grew up, and Petersburg, where his grandparents lived. These poems were serialized in Reedy's Mirror from 1914-15, and then discovered by Harriet Monroe, the editor of Poetry, who helped Masters issue a complete edition in 1915. Spoon River Anthology was wildly successful, going through several editions rapidly and becoming one of the most popular books of poetry in the history of American literature. His success and friendship with Monroe also brought him into the Chicago Group and contact with such poets as Carl Sandburg and Vachel Lindsay .

Masters was never to equal the success of Spoon River Anthology. He published thirty-nine more books, including novels, plays, collections of poetry, and biographies of Lindsay, Mark Twain, Whitman, and Lincoln. In 1917, Masters left his family; he and his wife would divorce in 1923. In 1920 Masters gave up his law firm and moved from Chicago to New York City, where he retired to the Chelsea Hotel to write. In 1926 he married Ellen Coyne, thirty years his junior. In his later years, Masters received several awards based on his earlier successes, including a Poetry Society of America Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters . He died March 5, 1953, in a convalescent home in Philadelphia and was buried in Petersburg, Illinois .

Source: The American Academy of Poets.

From the guide to the Edgar Lee Masters Papers, Masters (Edgar Lee) papers, 1928-1946, (John Hay Library Special Collections)

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6xd115c
Ark ID:
w6xd115c
SNAC ID:
74336748

Subjects:

  • Lawyers--Illinois--Chicago--Biography
  • American poetry--20th century
  • Journalism--United States
  • Poetry
  • American poetry
  • Literary agents
  • Poets, American--Biographies
  • Chautauquas
  • Postage stamps--Topics--Masters, Edgar Lee, 1868-1950
  • American literature--20th century
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Poets, American
  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Authors, American

Occupations:

  • Journalists
  • Poets, American
  • Poets--20th century.--United States
  • Authors
  • Poets
  • Poets--United States--20th Century

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)