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Holmes, Oliver Wendell

SKU: AUT3173

$85.00



Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (August 29, 1809 – October 7, 1894) was an American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table" series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858).

He is also recognized as an important medical reformer.  Autograph Card Writing Signed, 04/25/1885 -  4 1/2 x 2 1/2 written in blk ink with richly toning seen.  Also, a paper "Bookplate" from his son 'from the library of Oliver Wendell Holmes.  The gift of his son Oliver Wendell Holmes.' # 1312.26

"Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (August 29, 1809 - October 7, 1894) was an American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets.

His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table" series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858). He is recognized as an important medical reformer.

Holmes read a short article in the Boston Daily Advertiser about the renowned 18th century frigate USS Constitution, which was to be dismantled by the Navy. Holmes was moved to write "Old Ironsides" in opposition of the ship's scrapping. The patriotic poem was published in the Advertiser the very next day and was soon printed by papers in New York, Philadelphia and Washington. It not only brought the author immediate national attention, but the three-stanza poem also generated enough public sentiment that the historic ship was preserved.

During the rest of the year, Holmes published only five more poems. His last major poem that year was "The Last Leaf", which was inspired in part by a local man named Thomas Melvill, "the last of the cocked hats" and one of the "Indians" from the 1774 Boston Tea Party.

Holmes would later write that Melvill had reminded him of "a withered leaf which has held to its stem through the storms of autumn and winter, and finds itself still clinging to its bough while the new growths of spring are bursting their buds and spreading their foliage all around it." Literary critic Edgar Allan Poe called the poem one of the finest works in the English language.30 Years later, Abraham Lincoln would also become a fan of the poem; William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner and biographer, wrote in 1867: "I have heard Lincoln recite it, praise it, laud it, and swear by it".

Although he experienced early literary success, Holmes did not consider turning to a literary profession. Later he would write that he had "tasted the intoxicating pleasure of authorship" but compared such contentment to a sickness, saying: "there is no form of lead-poisoning which more rapidly and thoroughly pervades the blood and bones and marrow than that which reaches the young author through mental contact with type metal"."