William Cullen Bryant: American Poet and Journalist

American Poet and Journalist

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was a noted American poet and journalist. He also was a long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.  Bryant was born in Massachusetts. He attended Williams College and later studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1815. Bryant became interested in poetry in his early life. At about the age of 14, he published The Embargo, which was a critical attack against President Thomas Jefferson and the publication quickly sold out.  By the 1830’s he was considered America’s leading poet. Bryant supported his family with his law practice but became disheartened with the legal system. In 1825 he was hired as the editor of the New York Review and then of the United States Review and Literary Gazette. He then was hired by the New York Evening Post, a newspaper founded by Alexander Hamilton.  Within two years he was editor in chief and owner of the publication, a role he maintained for fifty years.  He made a fortune in this venture and also wielded a great deal of political clout on a local, state and national level. 

Bryant had progressive views and in time he joined the Free Soilers which later became the core of the new Republican Party. In 1856 he campaigned for John Fremont which made him a powerful figure in the Republican Party.  In 1860, he was one of the major Eastern supporters of Abraham Lincoln and was the person who introduced him at Linclolns famous address at Cooper Union which propelled Lincoln to the Presidential nomination and eventual election.

Toward the end of his life, Bryant worked on translating Homer’s the Iliad and the Odyssey.  He also became one of the leading authorities on homeopathy and as a hymnist for the Unitarian Church. He died in 1878 of complications after an accidental fall at  a Central Park ceremony which was honoring Italian patriot Giuseppe Mazzini.

This Cabinet card photograph of William Cullen Bryant was photographed by famed photographer Jose Maria Mora. Mora’s photographic studio was on Broadway in New York City.

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 4:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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