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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
7904 The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful "One-Hoss Shay": A Logical Story Comments and analysis of The Deacon's Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful 89 Comments
7651 Contentment Comments and analysis of Contentment by Oliver Wendell Holmes 23 Comments
7627 The Old Man Dreams Comments and analysis of The Old Man Dreams by Oliver Wendell Holmes 3 Comments
7249 The Boys Comments and analysis of The Boys by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
5851 The Chambered Nautilus Comments and analysis of The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
5444 The Last Leaf Comments and analysis of The Last Leaf by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
4346 The Two Streams Comments and analysis of The Two Streams by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
4199 Under the Violets
4111 The Voiceless Comments and analysis of The Voiceless by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
3674 A Familiar Letter
3253 Cacoethes Scribendi Comments and analysis of Cacoethes Scribendi by Oliver Wendell Holmes 50 Comments
3114 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
2814 Martha Comments and analysis of Martha by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
2602 The Silent Melody
2464 Union and Liberty
2415 Dorothy Q.
2187 The Flaâneur
2115 The Organ-Blower
1862 Poem (Halleck monument dedication)
1250 The Height of the Ridiculous Comments and analysis of The Height of the Ridiculous by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
614 The Living Temple
559 The September Gale Comments and analysis of The September Gale by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
515 Old Ironsides Comments and analysis of Old Ironsides by Oliver Wendell Holmes 6 Comments
506 Daily Trials by a Sensitive Man
487 Æstivation
406 A Farewell to Agassiz
378 The Opening of the Piano
262 Sun and Shadow Comments and analysis of Sun and Shadow by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1 Comment
155 Bill and Joe
129 The Iron Gate
115 The Flower of Liberty
90 My Aviary
90 The Dorchester Giant
30 Brother Jonathan's Lament Comments and analysis of Brother Jonathan's Lament by Oliver Wendell Holmes 2 Comments
29 For the Moore Centennial Celebration Comments and analysis of For the Moore Centennial Celebration by Oliver Wendell Holmes 3 Comments
5 A Parody on “A Psalm of Life” Comments and analysis of A Parody on “A Psalm of Life” by Oliver Wendell Holmes 59 Comments


Books by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Holmes Info


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