Sunday, March 18, 2012

William Cullen Bryant privately printed a book of hymns he wrote

(he wrote over 20 hymns).
Cedarmere was the rural Long Island home of WCB located on Bryant Avenue at Roslyn Harbor, he lived there 1843-1876. The oldest section of the house was constructed 1787, he greatly enlarged it, renovating it several times and planting numerous trees and flowers on the grounds. AFter his death his daughter Julia and grandon Harold Godwin took possession. Godwin added the stone bridge and sunken garden and rebuilt the house after a major fire in 1902.
Letters of his included in a collection included to John H Bryant 1843 June 21; 1866 July 4; and a letter written by John H Bryant to Mrs H.D. Nahmer 1894 May 29; letters to George H Bryant 1871 Dec 18, 1871 Dec 30; a letter he signed with others to President Andrew Johnson 1865 June 27; a letter to U.S. Grant 1869 April 29; to HW Longfellow 1864 april 18; a letter by his son-in-law Parke Godwin to Mrs H.S. Nahmer 1894 June 4; and a letter from his wife Frances Fairchild Bryant to Mrs R.C. Waterson dated Nov.
William was considered to be a child prodigy, publishing his first poem at 10 and first book at 13. His father Dr. Bryant was a Calvinist, physician and political figure in Massachusetts. He supplied William with an enormous library containing a vast collection of books, he pushed him toward the legal profession and greatly influenced and supported his writing. He submitted many of his sons poems to literary magazines, without William's permission, and helped him publish his first book, Embargo. William was sent to his uncles house when he was 13 to study Latin and Greek. He was so successful in his studies that he entered Williams college as a sixteen year old sophomore. Because of financial difficulties, he was forced to leave and he settled on taking the bar exam and started practicing law at 21. for 7 years, from 1818-1825, he practiced law to support a family but wrote very little. After the publication of his first book of poetry, he quit practicing law, and became the assistant editor for the New York Evening Post.
Bryant opposed tariffs of any kind, against slavery,endorsing the Free-Soil party, the Republican party, and Lincoln. Because of his stern political views, he had a great impact on the Evening Post. When his wife died in 1866, he began translating the Illiad, and shortly after that, the Odyssey. His final edition of the newspaper was in 1876, and he died shortly after that in 1878 after attending a party in his honor [another source says he died from a fall after giving a speech in Central Park, NYC].
He knew his alphabet at sixteen months old.
In the 1840's the increasing urbanization of Manhatan prompted the poet-editor WCB and landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing to call for a new, large park to be built on the island....CENTRAL PARK!

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