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Biography of Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 - 1894)

Oliver Wendell Holmes the elder, (August 29, 1809 – October 8, 1894) was a physician by profession but achieved fame as a writer; he was one of the best regarded American poets of the 19th century.

He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of a minister. He was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and at Harvard University. He first attained national prominence with his poem "Old Ironsides" about the 18th century battleship USS Constitution, which was to be broken up for scrap; the poem generated public sentiment that resulted in the historic ship being preserved as a monument.

He went to Paris for three years to study medicine, then returned to get his doctorate at Harvard in 1836, the same year the first book of his verse was published. He then became a professor of anatomy and physiology at Dartmouth College.

He was a contributor of essays and poems to the Atlantic Monthly from its inception, and also published novels. His son was Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

In 1846, in a letter to William T. G. Morton, the dentist who was the first practicioner to publicly demonstrate the use of ether during surgery, Holmes coined the word anæsthesia.

Holmes died in Boston, Massachusetts in 1894, and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Biography by: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Oliver Wendell Holmes.


36 Poems written by Oliver Wendell Holmes

The poems are by default sorted according to volume, but you can also choose to sort them alphabetically or by page views.

Volume | Alphabetically | [Page Views] | Comments | First Lines


Page ViewsPoemComments
7771 The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful "One-Hoss Shay": A Logical Story Comments and analysis of The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful 88 Comments
7508 The Old Man Dreams Comments and analysis of The Old Man Dreams by Oliver Wendell Holmes 3 Comments
7495 Contentment Comments and analysis of Contentment by Oliver Wendell Holmes 21 Comments
7109 The Boys Comments and analysis of The Boys by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
5749 The Chambered Nautilus Comments and analysis of The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
5349 The Last Leaf Comments and analysis of The Last Leaf by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
5016 Brother Jonathan's Lament Comments and analysis of Brother Jonathan's Lament by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
4217 The Two Streams Comments and analysis of The Two Streams by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
4087 Under the Violets
3980 The Voiceless Comments and analysis of The Voiceless by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
3571 A Familiar Letter
3541 The Flower of Liberty
3101 Cacoethes Scribendi Comments and analysis of Cacoethes Scribendi by Oliver Wendell Holmes 49 Comments
3011 The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful "One-Hoss Shay": A Logical Story Comments and analysis of The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful 1 Comment
2716 Martha Comments and analysis of Martha by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
2515 The Silent Melody
2387 Union and Liberty
2333 My Aviary
2254 Dorothy Q.
2087 For the Moore Centennial Celebration Comments and analysis of For the Moore Centennial Celebration by Oliver Wendell Holmes 3 Comments
2085 The Flaâneur
2064 The Dorchester Giant
2018 The Organ-Blower
1752 Poem (Halleck monument dedication)
1126 A Parody on “A Psalm of Life” Comments and analysis of A Parody on “A Psalm of Life” by Oliver Wendell Holmes 58 Comments
1102 The Height of the Ridiculous Comments and analysis of The Height of the Ridiculous by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
518 The Living Temple
476 Bill and Joe
463 The September Gale Comments and analysis of The September Gale by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
395 Daily Trials by a Sensitive Man
388 Æstivation
319 Old Ironsides Comments and analysis of Old Ironsides by Oliver Wendell Holmes 6 Comments
318 A Farewell to Agassiz
283 The Opening of the Piano
30 The Iron Gate
3 Sun and Shadow Comments and analysis of Sun and Shadow by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment


Books by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Holmes Info


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