Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was a poet in the Fireside Poets circle in New England. Holmes was also a physician, professor, and scholar.

Photo: Oliver Wendell Holmes, circa 1894, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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About

Holmes’s most famous works of poetry come from his “Breakfast-Table” series (The Professor at the Breakfast-Table, The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, and The Autocrat at the Breakfast-Table). He is also famous for his writings about medicine and contagious diseases, as well as for writing poems for special occasions–especially for events at Harvard, where he was a professor and Dean for several years. While he did achieve early literary success, Holmes never considered pursuing a full-time career as a writer, though he again turned to writing and translating later in life.

(His son was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court who held great influence, especially after his famous ruling in Schenck v. United States limited the First Amendment protection of words that bring about “clear and present danger.”)

–Christie Finn

Songs

Sheet Music

114 Songs

Composer(s): Charles Ives

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Hymn of Trust, Op. 13

Composer(s): Amy Beach

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