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Poetry

During the spring of 1825 a handful of prisoners were landed on the shore of the Hudson River at Mt. Pleasant to begin construction of a new penitentiary. For six months they toiled under the wary eyes and ready muskets of their keepers, sleeping in tents and lean-tos. Read more >>

A young poet’s memories of the old rural America in whose fields he worked for two sunny months while awaiting the call to service in the First World War

There were 281,881 Union fighting men wounded in the Civil War, and, while figures from the Confederate side are sketchy, we can safely assume that the number was at least half that. Read more >>
Mark Twain, surely the most American of great American writers, was, like the country itself, a creature of stupendous contradictions—gentle and tender at any given moment, and in the next possessed of rages so intense they cou Read more >>

The Man, the Myth, and the Midnight Ride

In the fall of 1844 a thirty-five-year-old lawyer from Springfield, Illinois, returned after an absence of nearly fifteen years to Spencer County, Indiana, to campaign in behalf of Presidential candidate Henry Clay. Read more >>

Illustrated with late-nineteenth-century magic-lantern slides Together with a brief inquiry into a Christmas mystery

Oliver Wendell Holmes, father of the famous Supreme Court justice, was not only a renowned professor of anatomy at Harvard but by popular acclaim the genial poet laureate of Boston, which he preferred to call “the hub of the solar system.” Despite his usual good humor, Holmes w Read more >>

An artist recalls his Midwestern home town and the poet who made it famous

I always felt at home in Edgar Lee Master᾿s quarters in the Chelsea Hotel. It was all so much like a Petersburg, Illinois, law office that I might have been back in Papa Smoot’s office overlooking the courthouse square. Read more >>

The classic American baseball poem might have vanished if not for an actor's impromptu performance.

A mysterious phenomenon, to which professional critics are usually oblivious, reoccurs often in the literary history of the United States. Read more >>
Hark, Hark the trumpet sounds, O’er seas and solid grounds, Read more >>