Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact File Biography: Ralph Waldo Emerson Lifespan: 1803 - 1882 *** Full Name: Ralph Waldo Emerson *** Occupation: American Lecturer, Essayist and Poet *** Date of Birth: Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25 1803 *** Place of Birth: Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. *** Early life and childhood: Ralph Waldo Emerson grew up with brothers William, Edward, Robert and Charles *** Education: Ralph Waldo Emerson attended Boston Latin School and then Harvard College *** Ralph Waldo Emerson died on April 27, 1882
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 1: Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25th 1803. Family background: His father was Reverend William Emerson and his mother was Ruth Haskins. His father was a Unitarian minister
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 2: His father died when he was just shy of his eighth birthday and his mother as well as the other female relatives in the family helped raise the children.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 3: By 1826 Ralph Waldo Emerson was suffering poor health and it was decided warmer weather would be beneficial to him and so he was packed off to Charleston in South Carolina and although they weather was better it was still not warm enough and he moved further South to St Augustine in Florida. He enjoyed the sun on the beaches and began writing poetry.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 4: Ralph Waldo Emerson would make the acquaintance of Prince Achille Murat who was the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte while living is St Augustine. The two became very close friends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 5: Having been raised in a devout home he attend a Bible Society meeting regularly and during one such visit he became aware of slavery for the first time. Just outside the meeting hall a slave auction was being held and although most of his attention was directed to his meeting he could not keep out the voice outside repeating “Going, gentlemen, going”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 6: Ralph Waldo Emerson began his career assisting his brother William in his school for young ladies which had set up in their mother’s house.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 7: When his brother left for Gottingen in order to study divinity, he took his brother’s place running the school.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 8: While making his living as a schoolmaster Ralph Waldo Emerson also began attending Harvard Divinity School.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 9: Having lost three siblings in childhood, Phebe, John and Mary, another of his younger brothers, Charles, died of tuberculosis for which he had suffered for some time.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 10: Having met Ellen Louisa Tucker in Concord on Christmas Day in 1827 the pair married. Ralph’s mother Ruth moved with them to Boston. Ruth was already suffering from tuberculosis and at just twenty years of age died from the condition. He was deeply devastated by her lose.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 11: Ralph Waldo Emerson was asked to become Boston’s Second Church’s junior pastor which would include other responsibilities and although he agreed and much of his time was taken up with his duties, when Ellen died so young he began to question his faith. By 1832 after much soul searching he decided to resign.Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 19: His first essay, Nature, was published anonymously in September of 1836. During March of 1837 Ralph Waldo Emerson attended the Boston Masonic Temple where he gave a series of lectures on The Philosophy of History and this would be the beginning of his career as a serious lecturer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 12: In 1833 he decided to broaden his horizons and left to travel Europe which he would later right about in English Traits (1856). His first stop was Malta and from there he visited Rome, Florence and Venice as well as other cities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 13: Ralph Waldo Emerson met John Stuart Mill in Rome and he was kind enough to give him a letter of introduction to Thomas Carlyle. He travelled on to Switzerland where he visited Voltaire’s home. Paris was his next destination followed by England.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 14: While in England he met William Wordsworth, Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Carlyle had a particular influence over him and he tried to persuade him to return to American with him. They would continue to communicate over many, many years.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 15: Finally Ralph Waldo Emerson returned to America in October of 1833 where he took up residence with his mother who now was living in Newton, Massachusetts. The following year he moved to Concord.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 16: As a witness to the blossoming Lyceum movement he began to see the possibilities of making a living as a lecturer and by November 1833 he had begun to give his first of hundreds of lectures with the topics including The Uses of Natural History.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 17: In 1835 Ralph Waldo Emerson proposed marriage to Lydia Jackson who accepted. They set up home together with his mother Ruth and together Emerson and Lydia had four children, Waldo, Ellen, Edith and Edward.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 18: In September of 1836 Emerson together with George Ripley, George Putnam and Frederic Henry Hedge got together to arrange regular meetings and thus began the Transcendental Club to open to other like-minded people, men and women alike.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 20: Between 1847 and 1848 Ralph Waldo Emerson made a tour of England, Scotland and Ireland and also managed a trip to Paris between the French Revolution and the June Days.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 21: Pre-Civil War, uncomfortable with the topic of slavery in a public forum but being a staunch anti-slavery advocate, Ralph Waldo Emerson did give several lectures on the subject.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 22: Always avidly writing in his personal journals as his health began to wane so did his personal entries and by 1872 began to suffer memory lapses. By 1879 he would cease all public appearances.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Fact 23: Ralph Waldo Emerson died of pneumonia on April 27, 1882 aged seventy eight years. His body was laid to rest in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in concord, Massachusetts.
Influence & Legacy: He left behind a collection or works that the world can still read and discuss such as, Essays, First Series and Second Series, Poems, Nature, Addresses and Lectures, Representative Men and his essays included, Nature, Self-Reliance, Compensation, The Over Soul, Circles, The Poet, Experiences, Politics, the American Scholar and New England Reformers.