Rufus Wilmot Griswold
Rufus Wilmot Griswold (February 13, 1815 – November 6, 1842) was an American anthologist, editor, poet, and critic. His 1842 collection The Poets and Poetry of America included what he deemed the best examples of American poetry. He was married three times and was licensed as a Baptist clergyman, although he never had a permanent congregation.
About Rufus Wilmot Griswold in brief
Rufus Wilmot Griswold (February 13, 1815 – November 6, 1842) was an American anthologist, editor, poet, and critic. His 1842 collection The Poets and Poetry of America included what he deemed the best examples of American poetry. He left home when he was 15, calling himself a “solitary soul, wandering through the world, a homeless, joyless outcast” His first wife died young, his second marriage ended in a public and controversial divorce, and his third wife left him after the previous divorce was almost repealed. He considered himself an expert in American poetry and was an early proponent of its inclusion on the school curriculum. He never reconciled with Edgar Allan Poe after Poe’s mysterious death in 1849, and began a campaign to harm Poe’s reputation that lasted until his own death eight years later. He was married three times and was licensed as a Baptist clergyman, although he never had a permanent congregation. He died in Philadelphia in 1842 and was buried alongside his wife, Caroline Searles, who had given birth to their third child, a son, three days later. In 1837, he was married to Caroline and had two daughters, but left New York in August 1840, leaving his family behind. He joined the staff of Philadelphia’s Daily Standard and began to build his reputation as a literary critic, becoming known for his vindictiveness and savagery. He also supported the introduction of copyright legislation, speaking to Congress on behalf of the publishing industry.
In October 1837 he considered running for office as a Whig but did not receive the party’s support. He later married Caroline on August 18, 1837 and the couple had three daughters. In November 1842, he left in New York and was both shocked and saddened to learn that she had died alongside her infant son, and that he would never see his other children again. He wrote a book about his experiences in Philadelphia, which was published in 1844. He is survived by his wife Caroline and their three daughters, Caroline, and their son, David. He had a daughter with Frances Sargent Osgood, who later became a famous poet. He lived in Albany, New York, with a 22-year-old flute-playing journalist named George C. Foster until he was 17, and the two may have had a romantic relationship. After a brief spell as a printer’s apprentice, he moved to Syracuse where, with some friends, he started a newspaper called The Porcupine. He moved to New York City in 1836 and, in March of that year, was introduced to 19- year-old Caroline Searle, whom he later married. He then moved to Philadelphia, where he was employed as an editor for various publications in the New York area. He retired in 1841 and lived with his wife and two daughters in Philadelphia. He eventually moved back to Albany and had a son with his second wife, who died in 1843.