Archibald MacLeish


Archibald MacLeish Famous memorial

Glencoe, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 20 Apr 1982 (aged 89)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Conway, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 6721357 View Source

Pulitzer Prize Awarded Poet, Playwright. He is best known for being awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times in his lifetime. He was known as "America's Poet Laureate" and "Poet Laureate of the New Deal" because he served as a cultural adviser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His father Andrew was dry a goods merchant and he mother Martha Hillard was a college professor and served as president of Rockford College in Illinois. Living on the family’s estate, he attended a private prep school, majored in English at Yale University, and law at Harvard University graduating at the top of his class. At the start of World War I, he enlisted along with his younger brother Kenneth and saw action as an ambulance driver, and later became a captain of field artillery. His brother died in battle and was buried at Flanders Field. He wrote about this loss in the poem “Fortune and Men’s Eyes”. After the war, he practiced law in Boston for a short time making partner in the firm. In 1923, he turned his career to writing. At this point, he, his wife and son traveled to Paris where his poems were published in English newspapers and he published four books. After Paris, he returned to the United States to become a writer for the magazine “Fortune” from 1929 to 1938. Travelling the steps of Cortez’s army by a mule ride through Mexico, he gathered data for his poem “Conquistador” and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his efforts in 1932. Accepting the post from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he served as the Librarian of Congress for five years. At the same time, he served as Director of the War Department’s Office of Facts and Figures and Assistant Director of the Office of War Information, specializing in propaganda. In 1944, he was appointed assistant Secretary of State for cultural affairs. After World War II, he became the first American member of the governing body of UNESCO, and chaired the first UNESCO conference in Paris. The UESCO encourages international peace and universal respect for human rights by promoting collaboration among all countries. In 1949, he retired from his political activism to become Harvard’s Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, a position he held until 1962. From 1963 to 1967, he was Simpson Lecturer at Amherst College and continued to write poetry, criticism, and stage- and screenplays, to great acclaim. He was associated with the Modernist school of poetry. Among his many works are “Happy Marriage and Other Poems in 1924; “The Pot of Earth” in 1925, "Conquistador” in 1932, which was his first Pulitzer Prize; "The Fall of The City" in 1937; "Air Raid" in1938; "Collected Poems” collected between 1917 to 1952, which won him his second Pulitzer Prize; "The Hamlet of A. MacLeish" in 1928; "America Was Promises" in 1939; and "J.B." in 1958, which was a verse play based on the book of Job from the Bible, earned him a third Pulitzer, this time for drama. He won many others awards including the National Book Award and the Bollingen Prize.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 25 Aug 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6721357
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Archibald MacLeish (7 May 1892–20 Apr 1982), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6721357, citing Pine Grove Cemetery, Conway, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .