Aldrich, Thomas Bailey
1896 check in the hand of, and signed by, the New England writer to a literary critic and poet +AMs of a poem by Aldrich
Autograph ID: 6577
Condition: Very good, center vertical fold, slight piece missing at upper left, lower right corner nick
Description: “(1836-1907) New Hampshire-born writer, poet, critic, and editor, notable for his long editorship of The Atlantic Monthly 1881-90. He was also known for his semi-autobiographical book “The Story of a Bad Boy” which established the “bad boy’s book” subgenre in 19h-century US literature, and for his poetry, which included “The Unguarded Gates.” When he was a child, his father moved to New Orleans and after 10 years, Aldrich returned to Portsmouth, partly described in his semi-autobiographical novel “The Story of a Bad Boy” (1870), in which “Tom Bailey” is the juvenile hero. At 16, he entered his uncle’s business in NYC and became a contributor to newspapers and magazines. Aldrich befriended other early 1860s young poets, artists and wits of New York, including Whitman. He was on the staff of the Home Journal 1856-59, edited by N. P. Willis. During the Civil War, he was editor of the New York Illustrated News. In 1865 Aldrich returned to New England as an editor of the eclectic weekly “Every Saturday” in Boston for 10 years, discontinued in 1875, with Tickenor and Fields. Aldrich continued his writing in prose and verse. His successive volumes of verse, chiefly The Ballad of Babie Bell (1856), Pampinea, and Other Poems (1861), Cloth of Gold (1874), Flower and Thorn (1876), Friar Jerome’s Beautiful Book (1881), Mercedes and Later Lyrics (1883), Wyndham Towers (1889), and the collected editions of 1865, 1882, 1897 and 1900, showed him to be a poet of lyrical skill and light touch.His longer narrative or dramatic poems include “Hesperides,” “When the Sultan Goes to Ispahan,” “Before the Rain,” “Nameless Pain,” “The Tragedy,” “Seadrift,” “Tiger Lilies,” “The One White Rose,” “Palabras CariÃ±osas,” “Destiny,” and the 8-line poem “Identity.” Beginning with the collection of stories entitled “Marjorie Daw and Other People” (1873), Aldrich wrote works of realism and quiet humor. His novels “Prudence Palfrey” (1874), “The Queen of Sheba” (1877), and “The Stillwater Tragedy” (1880) had more dramatic action. The first portrayed Portsmouth with the affectionate touch shown in the shorter humorous tale, “A Rivermouth Romance” (1877). In “An Old Town by the Sea” (1893), Aldrich commemorated his birthplace again. Travel and description are the theme of “From Ponkapog to Pesth” (1883). His last words were recorded as, “In spite of it all, I am going to sleep; put out the lights.”
Partly-printed DS, 3 x 7 1/4 New-England Trust Company of Boston check dated November 27 1896 by Aldrich, paying $150 to George E. Woodberry; check is stamped at lower right, endorsed by Woodberry on verso. With AMs, his poem “I’ll Not Confer With Sorrow” and steel engraving.
GEORGE E. WOODBERRY (1855-1930) American literary critic and poet. Harvard 1877, to NYC in 1878 as an asst. editor on The Nation. In 1879, he moved to Cambridge, continuing his editorial work and contributing to the Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s. His “Edgar Allan Poe”, one of the marked successes of the “American Men of Letters Series”, was published in 1884, the work he is perhaps most widely known. He became the recognized authority on Poe, and dispelled some myths of popular tradition. His “My Country” appeared in a very limited separate impression; then in the Atlantic Monthly and in 1888, Professor John K. Paine, using the poem as a libretto, composed a cantata, A Song of Praise, performed at the Festival at Cincinnati that year. During 1890, the North Shore Watch, and Other Poems, and Studies in Letters and Life were published. For 12 years, he contributed to the literary portion of The Nation. He also, during Aldrich’s editorship, was anonymously, and for this reason able, the more forcibly, to assert his critical strength in the Atlantic Monthly. During 1888 he wrote regularly, mostly upon literary topics, for the Boston Post. He contributed the entry on American Literature to the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1910) under the initials “G.E.W.”. He was professor of comparative literature at Columbia University 1891-1904, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. After his death in 1930, he was posthumously awarded one of the first three Frost Medals for lifetime achievement in poetry by the Poetry Society of America. The Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard is named in his honor.”