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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
7023 The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful "One-Hoss Shay": A Logical Story Comments and analysis of The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful 76 Comments
6951 The Old Man Dreams Comments and analysis of The Old Man Dreams by Oliver Wendell Holmes 3 Comments
6685 Contentment Comments and analysis of Contentment by Oliver Wendell Holmes 5 Comments
6426 The Boys Comments and analysis of The Boys by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
5196 The Chambered Nautilus Comments and analysis of The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
4886 The Last Leaf Comments and analysis of The Last Leaf by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
4662 Brother Jonathan's Lament Comments and analysis of Brother Jonathan's Lament by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
3742 Under the Violets
3676 The Two Streams Comments and analysis of The Two Streams by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
3323 The Voiceless Comments and analysis of The Voiceless by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
3188 Sun and Shadow
3129 A Familiar Letter
3098 The Flower of Liberty
2659 The Iron Gate
2621 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
2467 Cacoethes Scribendi Comments and analysis of Cacoethes Scribendi by Oliver Wendell Holmes 39 Comments
2451 Daily Trials by a Sensitive Man
2307 Martha Comments and analysis of Martha by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
2243 A Farewell to Agassiz
2210 The Silent Melody
2100 Union and Liberty
1894 The Opening of the Piano
1868 My Aviary
1867 Dorothy Q.
1739 For the Moore Centennial Celebration Comments and analysis of For the Moore Centennial Celebration by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
1728 The Flaâneur
1633 The Dorchester Giant
1618 The Organ-Blower
1374 Poem (Halleck monument dedication)
389 The Height of the Ridiculous Comments and analysis of The Height of the Ridiculous by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
359 A Parody on “A Psalm of Life” Comments and analysis of A Parody on “A Psalm of Life” by Oliver Wendell Holmes 51 Comments
177 Old Ironsides Comments and analysis of Old Ironsides by Oliver Wendell Holmes 6 Comments
134 Bill and Joe
107 The Living Temple
91 Æstivation
75 The September Gale Comments and analysis of The September Gale by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment


Books by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Holmes Info


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