Aldrich, Thomas Bailey
- Michael Hovland
(b Portsmouth, NH, Nov 11, 1836; d Boston, MA, March 19, 1907). American poet. He held various editorial positions in New York and Boston from 1855 to 1890 and produced four novels as well as several volumes of poetry, short stories, and essays. With the publication in 1855 of his poem The Ballad of Babie Bell, Aldrich achieved almost instant success. He went on to become one of the leading poets and writers of his age. He exerted perhaps his greatest influence on American literature during his years as editor of the Atlantic Monthly, succeeding William Dean Howells in that position in 1881. Along with E.C. Stedman, Bayard Taylor, R.H. Stoddard, and other writers of the genteel tradition, Aldrich faded into obscurity in the early 20th century.
In his poetry and prose Aldrich was at his best in shorter forms. His carefully crafted poems are noted for their neatness, precision, and delicacy. Like Oliver Wendell Holmes, he excelled in the type of poetry commonly called “vers de société” or “familiar verse.” His light, bright, and easy lyrics were very popular as song and choral texts, especially in the years ...