Open main menu

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Stoddard, Richard Henry

< 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica

STODDARD, RICHARD HENRY (1825-1903), American author, was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, on the 2nd of July 1825. He spent most of his boyhood in New York City, where he became a blacksmith and later an iron moulder, but in 1849 he gave up his trade and began to write for a living. He contributed to the Union Magazine, the Knickerbocker Magazine, Putnam's Monthly Magazine and the New York Evening Post. In 1853 Nathaniel Hawthorne helped him to secure the appointment of inspector of customs of the Port of New York. He was confidential clerk to George B. McClellan in the New York dock department in 1870-1872, and city librarian of New York in 1874-1875; literary reviewer for the New York World (1860-1870); one of the editors of Vanity Fair; editor of the Aldine (1869-1874), and literary editor of the Mail and Express (1880-1903). He died in New York on the 12th of May 1903. Among the numerous books that he edited are The Loves and Heroines of the Poets (1861); Melodies and Madrigals, Mostly from the old English Poets (1865); The Late English Poets (1865), selections; Griswold's Poets and Poetry of America (1872), and Female Poets of America (1874); The Bric-a-Brac Series, in 10 vols. (1874-1876); English Verse, in 5 vols. edited with W. J. Linton (1883); and four editions of Poe's works, with a memoir (1872-1894). His original poetry includes Footprints (1849), privately printed and afterwards suppressed; Poems (1852); the juveniles, Adventures in Fairyland (1853); Town and Country (1857), and The Story of Little Red Riding Hood (1864); Songs of Summer (1857); The King's Bell (1862), one of his most popular narrative poems; Abraham Lincoln: A Horatian Ode (1865), The Book of the East (1867), Poems (1880), a collective edition; and The Lion's Cub, with Other Verse (1890). He also wrote Life, Travels and Books of Alexander von Humboldt (1860); Under the Evening Lamp (1892), essays dealing mainly with the modern English poets; and Recollections Personal and Literary (1903), edited by Ripley Hitchcock. More important than his critical was his poetical work, which at its best is sincere, original and marked by delicate fancy, and felicity of form; and his songs have given him a high and permanent place among American lyric poets.

His wife Elizabeth Drew (Barstow) Stoddard (1823-1902), poet and novelist, was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, on the 6th of May 1823. She studied at Wheaton Seminary, Norton, Mass. After her marriage in 1852 she assisted her husband in his literary work, and contributed stories, poems and essays to the periodicals. She wrote three novels — The Morgesons (1862), Two Men (1865) and Temple House (1867), and a volume of poems (1895). A new edition of her novels was issued in 1901. She died in New York on the 1st of August 1902.