STEDMAN, EDMUND CLARENCE. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, October 8, 1833;
died in New York City, January 18, 1908. Mr. Stedman was for
many years the foremost critic of America and exerted a great
influence upon the country's poetry through his sympathetic interpretations
and the far-reaching inspiration of his personal relations with
poets. The activity of Mr. Stedman's life and the variety of
his interests rebuke those who are content with a half expression
of their talents. Stedman's youth was like that of many ambitious
boys: he graduated at Yale, having taken first prize for a poem
on "Westminster Abbey," and plunged into journalism,
editing papers in small towns in New England. Emboldened to try
his luck in New York City, he secured a place with Horace Greeley
on the "Tribune" where "Osawatomie Brown"
and other early poems were published. In 1860 he joined the staff
of the "New York World," remaining as war correspondent
until 1863. Here an entirely new phase was introduced into his
life and one seemingly antagonistic to literature. He aided in
the construction and financial affairs of the first Pacific Railway
and so was led into Wall Street, where he remained as an active
member of the Stock Exchange for nearly forty years. Mr. Stedman
said himself that he entered Wall Street as a door to means and
leisure to prosecute his literary works, a task in which he was
assiduous to the hour of his death. Volumes of his own verse
alternated with critical studies of English and American poets,
and lectures at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University,
and other academic centers. He received the degree of L.H.D.
from Columbia and of LL.D. from Yale.
This biographical note is reprinted
from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.