William Cullen Bryant
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William Cullen Bryant Childhood & Birthday, American - 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐦 𝐂𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧 𝐁𝐫𝐲𝐚𝐧𝐭 Biography
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Frances Fairchild
Accident
Cummington, Massachusetts
Male
Peter Bryant
Sarah Snell
Scorpio
Cummington, Massachusetts
83
New York City, New York
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Who is William Cullen Bryant?

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What Washington Irving was to American fiction, William Cullen Bryant was to American poetry. A renowned poet and journalist, William Cullen Bryant was one of the most celebrated figures of the 19th century America. His popularity was akin to Longfellow and Emerson with his work achieving the top ranked status. Though none of his poems or editorials survives as of today, he nevertheless is regarded as one of the goliaths of the literary field of the bygone era. Other than serving as a romantic poet and as the editor in chief of the New York Evening Post for five decades, he was an active activist. He worked for the rights of the workmen and the labour. Furthermore, he also voiced his opinion for the rights of the religious minorities and the immigrants. He was one of the principal authorities on homeopathy and was a hymnist for the Unitarian Church.

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William Cullen Bryant Childhood & Early Life

William Cullen Bryant was the second son born to Peter Bryant and Sarah Snell in Cummington, Massachusetts. His father was a doctor and a state legislator by profession.

Since an early age, he developed a keen interest in poetry, which propelled under his father’s tutelage. His first published poem was ‘The Embargo’ in 1808 which detailed a savage attack on President Thomas Jefferson.

The publication received positive response from both the critics and the public and became an instant sold out. People marvelled at the young age in which Bryant took to writing.

He studied at the Williams College and later took to studying law in Worthington and Bridgewater. It was in 1815 that he was admitted to the bar. It was after completing his studies that he took to regenerating his passion for poetry.

William Cullen Bryant Career

He took a job as an attorney in the Plainfield, which was seven miles away from Cummington. He would walk to his office and back. It was during one of his walks that he noticed a single bird flying over the horizon. The sight touched his heart and inspired him so much so that he penned the poem, ‘To a Waterfowl’

The exact year as to when did he began to pen his most famous work, ‘Thanatopsis’ is highly speculated. Most people believe that it was around 1813 that he began composing the poem.

During the time of ‘Thanatopsis’ composition, his father submitted some pages of verse along with his own work, to the North American Review in 1817. The poem was so well received by the editors that it was published as a complete verse under the Greek title, ‘Thanatopsis’ or ‘Meditation on Death’. What’s more, mistakenly the poem was attributed to his father.

The success of ‘Thanatopsis’ led him to publish several of his works, including the poem ‘To a Waterfowl’ in 1821.

He did not give up on his legal career completely, as the income generated from literary works was not enough to sustain a living. As such, he continued to practice law until 1825 at the Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He also complemented his income by working at the town’s hog reeve.

Increasing love for poetry and an aversion towards the pettifoggery and absurd judgment being practiced in law led him to leave the legal profession.

Turning to a literary career, in 1825, he bagged the opportunity to take up the profile of an editor for the periodical, New York Review. Later on, he served with the United States Review and Literary Gazette.

Despite repeated attempts to revive the drowning status of the periodical, he failed and hence switched to take up the profile of an Assistant Editor with the New York Evening Post, founded by Alexander Hamilton. There, he served under William Coleman.

In about two years, i.e. 1828, he was promoted to the rank of Editor in Chief and a part owner of the New York Evening Post, a position he held until 1878. The paper not only brought him financial stability but acted as a domain for him to execute his political power in the city, state and nation.

In addition to being a poet and journalist, he became an avid activist and supporter of organized labour. He voiced for the rights of workmen and defended their privileges and liberties. Furthermore, he protected the rights of religious minorities and the immigrants and spoke against corrupting practices of the bankers.

He received an invite to address the Harvard University Phi Beta Kappa Society at the school's August commencement. For the same, he spent months working on a panorama in verse of the history of civilization, titled ‘The Ages’.

‘The Ages’ led to the publication of a collection entitled, ‘Poems’ in 1832. It was following the publication of ‘Poems’ in the US and Britain that his career as a poet was established. He also gained recognition as America’s leading poet.

Later on, he edited the successful work, ‘Picturesque America’ which was published between 1872 and 1874. Compiled in a two volume set, it described the picturesque and scenic beauty of United States and Canada.

Towards the end of his career, he worked towards translating Homer’s works instead of penning his own poetry. He worked on Iliad and The Odyssey from 1871 to 1874.

William Cullen Bryant Personal Life & Legacy

He tied the nuptial knot with Frances Fairchild in 1821.

He breathed his last in 1878. He died of complications resulting from an accidental fall suffered after participating in a Central Park ceremony honoring Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini. He was buried at the Roslyn Cemetery, in Roslyn Long Island, New York.

Posthumously, several parks, squares, schools and colleges were named in his honor.

William Cullen Bryant Trivia

This renowned American romantic poet of the 19th century of the ‘Thanatopsis’ fame worked as the editor of New York Evening Post for five decades.

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William Cullen Bryant biography timelines

  • Since an early age, he developed a keen interest in poetry, which propelled under his father’s tutelage. His first published poem was ‘The Embargo’ in 1808 which detailed a savage attack on President Thomas Jefferson.
    1808
  • The exact year as to when did he began to pen his most famous work, ‘Thanatopsis’ is highly speculated. Most people believe that it was around 1813 that he began composing the poem.
    1813
  • The success of ‘Thanatopsis’ led him to publish several of his works, including the poem ‘To a Waterfowl’ in 1821.
    1821
  • He tied the nuptial knot with Frances Fairchild in 1821.
    1821
  • Turning to a literary career, in 1825, he bagged the opportunity to take up the profile of an editor for the periodical, New York Review. Later on, he served with the United States Review and Literary Gazette.
    1825
  • In about two years, i.e. 1828, he was promoted to the rank of Editor in Chief and a part owner of the New York Evening Post, a position he held until 1878. The paper not only brought him financial stability but acted as a domain for him to execute his political power in the city, state and nation.
    1828
  • ‘The Ages’ led to the publication of a collection entitled, ‘Poems’ in 1832. It was following the publication of ‘Poems’ in the US and Britain that his career as a poet was established. He also gained recognition as America’s leading poet.
    1832
  • Towards the end of his career, he worked towards translating Homer’s works instead of penning his own poetry. He worked on Iliad and The Odyssey from 1871 to 1874.
    1874
  • He breathed his last in 1878. He died of complications resulting from an accidental fall suffered after participating in a Central Park ceremony honoring Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini. He was buried at the Roslyn Cemetery, in Roslyn Long Island, New York.
    1878
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Frequently asked questions about William Cullen Bryant

  • What is William Cullen Bryant birthday?

    William Cullen Bryant was born at November 3, 1794

  • Where is William Cullen Bryant's birth place?

    William Cullen Bryant was born in Cummington, Massachusetts

  • What is William Cullen Bryant nationalities?

    William Cullen Bryant's nationalities is American

  • Who is William Cullen Bryant spouses?

    William Cullen Bryant's spouses is Frances Fairchild

  • What is William Cullen Bryant's cause of dead?

    William Cullen Bryant dead because of Accident

  • Who is William Cullen Bryant's father?

    William Cullen Bryant's father is Peter Bryant

  • Who is William Cullen Bryant's mother?

    William Cullen Bryant's mother is Sarah Snell

  • What is William Cullen Bryant's sun sign?

    William Cullen Bryant is Scorpio

  • When was William Cullen Bryant died?

    William Cullen Bryant was died at June 12, 1878

  • Where was William Cullen Bryant died?

    William Cullen Bryant was died in New York City, New York

  • Which age was William Cullen Bryant died?

    William Cullen Bryant was died at age 83