Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The writings of 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) have been read for more than a hundred years. With that longevity, his work has earned a place in numerous textbooks and other published works through current day. In today’s world, some of his writings have become controversial but they continue to be regarded as generally representative of the thinking of publishers, writers, and readers during his time.
The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow House in Portland, Maine, is open to the public and welcomes visitors, which Portland well deserves with its assortment of shops and fresh lobster pulled from the sea. Portland is a midsize town known for Victorian-style homes, stores, fishing wharves, and magnificent ocean views.
According to https://www.hwlongfellow.org: “The house in Portland was built by the poet’s grandfather, General Peleg Wadsworth, in 1785-1786. Craigie House served for a time as George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters. Longfellow’s descendants occupied Craigie House until 1950. It became a National Historic Site in 1972, and is now known as the Longfellow National Historic Site. Learn more of the history of Craigie House, get information about visiting the house, and take a virtual tour at https://www.nps.gov/long/index.htm.”
You may have read or even memorized what is probably his most famous poem about Paul Revere’s Ride, which you can find at https://poets.org/poem/paul-reveres-ride. Other well-known writings are Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published his first poem at the age of 13 under the name “Henry.” When his father read it, he said it was terrible, not realizing that it had been written by his son who would eventually become one of America’s best known poets. (Read more about this author through our Massachusetts and Michigan sections.)
This is the second stop on our Maine Author Adventures Trail.