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 Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Author, Poet. His family was a repository where the Unitarians obtained their ministers. Most of his forefathers and even his own father and finally he became a Clergyman. However, the death of his first wife soon after their marriage soured his faith and he resigned emerging as the leader of the Transcendental movement. (stressed a life style of a personal nature over rational or dogmatic-It favored trusting one's instincts over the guidance of authority} This philosophy was the basis of his writings, essays and poems. Emerson started and edited "The Dial," a Transcendental journal. Ralph Waldo Emerson lectured often and his subjects and messages resulted in publication of "Essays" and finally the most famous, "Self Reliance." He was productive for forty years, publishing his thoughts and philosophy in the forms of Essays, journals and poems and sayings. Tragedy continued in his life. Married for a second time, their first son "Waldo" soon passed away and finally his wife. Toward the end of his life, his home burned. Friends paid for him to travel overseas while they secretly rebuilt his house and library. Arriving home a year later, he was speechless and overwhelmed. He graciously accepted living there until his death. Emerson became old, frail and forgetful. He developed a cold while walking coatless and hatless in rainy, cold Concord in April. A cold developed into pneumonia. At the age of seventy eight, he was gone which was marked by the pealing of the bell at the First Parish. The funeral was elaborate in keeping with his national and local importance. His body was dressed in a white robe and placed in a dark black walnut coffin. A private service was conducted at the Emerson residence. At its conclusion, a horse drawn hearse carried the coffin through the streets of Concord packed with persons brought in by special trains to Concord for the final public service at the First Parish. The body was transported to Sleepy Hallow Cemetery. Following an Episcopal service and the dropping of flowers into the grave by his grandchildren and the schoolchildren of Concord he was buried on Authors' Ridge. The Emerson House where the author lived and wrote from 1835 until his death is preserved and contains original furnishings and memorabilia from his life.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 320
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ralph Waldo Emerson (25 May 1803–27 Apr 1882), Find A Grave Memorial no. 320, citing Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .