Robert W. Service - Poets, Facts and Childhood

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Robert W. Service's Personal Details

Robert William Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer of his time

InformationDetail
BirthdayJanuary 16, 1874
Died onSeptember 11, 1958
NationalityCanadian, French, British
FamousPoets, Writers, Writers, Poets, Novelists
SpousesGermaine Bougeoin
SiblingsAlick, Lieutenant Albert Service
Known asRobert William Service
Childrens Iris Service
Universities
  • University of Glasgow
  • Hillhead High School
Birth PlacePreston, Lancashire, England
Born CountryUnited Kingdom
GenderMale
FatherRobert Service
Sun SignCapricorn
Born inPreston, Lancashire, England
Famous asPoet & Writer
Died at Age84

// Famous Poets

Robert W. Service's photo

Who is Robert W. Service?

Robert William Service, one of the most proficient poets and writers, is till date remembered for contributing some of the most celebrated works in literature. It was his deep embedded passion for reading and writing since an early age that paved his way for future. While he was inspired by reading the works of Robert Browning, Lord Alfred Tennyson and John Keats in his initial years, later the works of Rudyard Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson framed much of his writing style. Interestingly, despite taking up various works and living as a cowboy, the humble living condition did not dampen his interest in writing. The passion instead kindled and only blossomed finally resulting in the publication of his first work, ‘Songs of a Sourdough’. The book met with overwhelming response and catapulted Service’s reputation as a poet by miles. What followed was a string of highly successful works which Service wrote drawing inspiration from the lore and tales of men and their experiences. He even made a huge impact in the field of thriller novels by coming up with highly successful novels.

// Famous Writers

Childhood & Early Life

Robert William Service was the eldest of the ten children born to Robert Service in Preston, Lancashire, England. His father, originally from Kilwinning, Scotland, was a banker by profession.

When young Service turned five, he moved to Kilwinning, Scotland, to live with his paternal grandfather and maiden aunts. On his sixth birthday, he penned his first ever verse, which was basically a grace.

His parents shifted base to Glasglow, Scotland, when he was nine years old. Academically proficient, he attended some of the finest schools in Glasglow. He graduated from Glasgow's Hillhead High School.

It was during his years at school that he developed a lifelong interest in books and poetry. Reading exposed him to adventure and fun and inspired him to go out and explore the world to extinguish his desires and curiosities.

He took up various odd jobs, starting with working at a shipping office that soon closed down and later on following his dad for a position at a suburban branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland.

While at the bank, since he did not have too much work pressure, he often indulged in reading the works of Robert Browning, Lord Alfred Tennyson, and John Keats. He also started writing professionally and was reportedly selling his verses by then.

His interest and passion for poetry soon found him a seat at the University of Glasglow for a course in English Literature. As much as he was applauded for being the brightest student of the class, his audacity and boldness irked his professors. As a result of this, he left the university after a year.

Career

To fulfil his long-drawn wish to dig into his self and bring out his true identity, he set sail to Western Canada in 1895 to become a cowboy. A suitcase with clothes, a letter of reference from a bank and some savings was all that he had taken with him on his voyage to Montreal.

Upon reaching Montreal, he took a train to Vancouver Island. It was there that he realised his dream of becoming a cowboy. The experience called for working in the ranch and meeting colourful personalities all along.

He moved towards North America, wandering from California to British Columbia. All through the journey, he took up various jobs.

In 1899, during his stay in Cowichan Bay, British Columbia, he worked as a store clerk. Coincidently, his passion for writing poetry got six of his works published in the Victoria Daily Colonist by July 1900

The positive response for his printed verses encouraged him to write further. In the following two years, more of his works were printed in the Colonist, including ‘Music in the Bush’ and ‘The Little Old Log Cabin’.

In 1903, his letter of reference from the Commercial Bank of Scotland finally turned helpful as he found himself a position at the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He started working at the bank’s branch in Victoria, British Columbia

While working at the bank, he was shifted to the branch in Kamloops in the middle of British Columbia. In 1904, he was further transferred to the Whitehorse branch in the Yukon, a relatively new town.

Working for the bank did not dampen his passion for poetry as he continued writing his verses. It was during this time that he wrote the poems, ‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew’ and ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’

By then, he had written enough poems to be published together in a book. Collecting all his works, he transferred the same to his father to Toronto.

‘Songs of a Sourdough’ was the title of his assorted works, which became a massive hit. The book sold 1700 copies in advance from galley proofs and further had an overwhelming demand. Even before its official release date, the book had been through seven printing.

The substantial success of ‘Songs of a Sourdough’ led to a release of an edition in New York, Philadelphia, and London. The book earned him $100,000.

By 1908, he had completed his three years of service in the bank which entitled him a mandatory paid leave for three months, which was a standard practice for bank employees serving in the Yukon

Upon resuming work, he was transferred to Dawson where he met veterans of the Gold Rush. He spent a considerable amount of time listening to the lore of the men. It was these reminisces that he employed to write his second book, ‘Ballads of a Cheechako’ in 1908. Much like its predecessor, it met with huge success.

In 1909, he officially resigned from his duties at the bank. Henceforth, he started writing his first novel, ‘The Trail of ‘98’. The novel was published by a publisher in New York and immediately became a bestseller.

Gaining immense financial freedom from the success of his printed works, he travelled to Paris, the French Riviera and Hollywood. He returned to Dawson City in 1912 to pen his third book of poetry titled ‘Rhymes of a Rolling Stone’.

Leaving Dawson City in 1912, he served as a correspondent for the Toronto Star. The following year, he moved to Paris. Though he was rejected for service on account of varicose vein, he took up various works as a war correspondent, stretcher bearer and ambulance driver.

In 1916, he penned ‘Rhymes of a Red Cross Man’ which was dedicated to men who lost their lives in World War I. Five years later he came up with his next work, ‘Ballads of a Bohemian’.

In the following years, he penned thriller novels including, ‘The Poisoned Paradise’, ‘A Romance of Monte Carlo’ and ‘The Roughneck ‘A Tale of Tahiti’. In the 1930s, ‘Ballad of Lenin's Tomb’ was published.

During World War II, he shifted to California along with his family. In 1942, he played as himself in the movie ‘The Spoilers’ alongside Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne and Randolph Scott. From 1949 to 1955, he published six books of verse. Additionally, he wrote two volumes of autobiography, ‘Ploughman of the Moon’ and ‘Harper of Heaven’.

Awards & Achievements

For his war engagements and contributions, he was presented with three medals, including 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Personal Life & Legacy

He fell in love with Constance MacLean at a dance in Duncan B.C. while living in Yukon. However, since MacLean was looking for an educated and financially well-off partner, she did not pay heed to his emotions.

Upon achieving academic success, he vowed his love to Constance MacLean again. Though it is reported that she agreed to get engaged to him, not much is known as to what happened between them which led to her marrying Leroy Grant.

Subsequently, he married a French woman, Germaine Bougeoin in 1913. The couple lived in Lancieux, C�tes-d'Armor, in the Brittany region of France.

He breathed his last on September 11, 1958. He was 84 years of age then.

Various schools, colleges, public houses and roads have been named after him. Additionally, the Canadian postage services commemorated his work with a stamp dedicated to him in 1976.

Trivia

This poet and writer of the famous book, ‘Songs of Sourdough’ is famously referred to as the ‘Bard of Yukon’.

// Famous Poets

Robert W. Service biography timelines

  • // 16th Jan 1874
    Robert William Service was the eldest of the ten children born to Robert Service in Preston, Lancashire, England. His father, originally from Kilwinning, Scotland, was a banker by profession.
  • // 1895
    To fulfil his long-drawn wish to dig into his self and bring out his true identity, he set sail to Western Canada in 1895 to become a cowboy. A suitcase with clothes, a letter of reference from a bank and some savings was all that he had taken with him on his voyage to Montreal.
  • // 1899 To 1900
    In 1899, during his stay in Cowichan Bay, British Columbia, he worked as a store clerk. Coincidently, his passion for writing poetry got six of his works published in the Victoria Daily Colonist by July 1900
  • // 1903
    In 1903, his letter of reference from the Commercial Bank of Scotland finally turned helpful as he found himself a position at the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He started working at the bank’s branch in Victoria, British Columbia
  • // 1904
    While working at the bank, he was shifted to the branch in Kamloops in the middle of British Columbia. In 1904, he was further transferred to the Whitehorse branch in the Yukon, a relatively new town.
  • // 1908
    By 1908, he had completed his three years of service in the bank which entitled him a mandatory paid leave for three months, which was a standard practice for bank employees serving in the Yukon
  • // 1908
    Upon resuming work, he was transferred to Dawson where he met veterans of the Gold Rush. He spent a considerable amount of time listening to the lore of the men. It was these reminisces that he employed to write his second book, ‘Ballads of a Cheechako’ in 1908. Much like its predecessor, it met with huge success.
  • // 1909
    In 1909, he officially resigned from his duties at the bank. Henceforth, he started writing his first novel, ‘The Trail of ‘98’. The novel was published by a publisher in New York and immediately became a bestseller.
  • // 1912
    Gaining immense financial freedom from the success of his printed works, he travelled to Paris, the French Riviera and Hollywood. He returned to Dawson City in 1912 to pen his third book of poetry titled ‘Rhymes of a Rolling Stone’.
  • // 1912
    Leaving Dawson City in 1912, he served as a correspondent for the Toronto Star. The following year, he moved to Paris. Though he was rejected for service on account of varicose vein, he took up various works as a war correspondent, stretcher bearer and ambulance driver.
  • // 1913
    Subsequently, he married a French woman, Germaine Bougeoin in 1913. The couple lived in Lancieux, C�tes-d'Armor, in the Brittany region of France.
  • // 1914 To 1915
    For his war engagements and contributions, he was presented with three medals, including 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
  • // 1916
    In 1916, he penned ‘Rhymes of a Red Cross Man’ which was dedicated to men who lost their lives in World War I. Five years later he came up with his next work, ‘Ballads of a Bohemian’.
  • // 1942 To 1955
    During World War II, he shifted to California along with his family. In 1942, he played as himself in the movie ‘The Spoilers’ alongside Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne and Randolph Scott. From 1949 to 1955, he published six books of verse. Additionally, he wrote two volumes of autobiography, ‘Ploughman of the Moon’ and ‘Harper of Heaven’.
  • // 11th Sep 1958
    He breathed his last on September 11, 1958. He was 84 years of age then.
  • // 1976
    Various schools, colleges, public houses and roads have been named after him. Additionally, the Canadian postage services commemorated his work with a stamp dedicated to him in 1976.

// Famous Novelists

Robert W. Service's FAQ

  • What is Robert W. Service birthday?

    Robert W. Service was born at 1874-01-16

  • When was Robert W. Service died?

    Robert W. Service was died at 1958-09-11

  • Where was Robert W. Service died?

    Robert W. Service was died in Lancieux, Côtes-d'Armor, France

  • Which age was Robert W. Service died?

    Robert W. Service was died at age 84

  • Where is Robert W. Service's birth place?

    Robert W. Service was born in Preston, Lancashire, England

  • What is Robert W. Service nationalities?

    Robert W. Service's nationalities is Canadian,French,British

  • Who is Robert W. Service spouses?

    Robert W. Service's spouses is Germaine Bougeoin

  • Who is Robert W. Service siblings?

    Robert W. Service's siblings is Alick, Lieutenant Albert Service

  • Who is Robert W. Service childrens?

    Robert W. Service's childrens is Iris Service

  • What was Robert W. Service universities?

    Robert W. Service studied at University of Glasgow, Hillhead High School

  • Who is Robert W. Service's father?

    Robert W. Service's father is Robert Service

  • What is Robert W. Service's sun sign?

    Robert W. Service is Capricorn

  • How famous is Robert W. Service?

    Robert W. Service is famouse as Poet & Writer