John Greenleaf Whittier Biography
Birthday: December 17, 1807 (Sagittarius)
Born In: Haverhill, Massachusetts, United States
John Greenleaf Whittier was a leading American Quaker poet and a passionate supporter of the abolition of slavery. Born on a farm into a Quaker family, he had limited formal education. His poem, ‘The Exile’s Departure’, was published in the Newburyport Free Press. Its editor, William Garrison became his friend and associate in the abolitionist cause. He went on to edit newspapers in Boston and Haverhill and the New England Weekly Review in Hartford, Connecticut, the most important Whig journal in New England. He continued writing verse, sketches, and tales, and published his first volume of poems, ‘Legends of New England’. His fiery antislavery pamphlet, ‘Justice and Expediency’, made him prominent activist in the abolition movement, and for a decade he was probably its most influential writer. He served a term in the Massachusetts legislature, and spoke at antislavery meetings. Among his other poems are, ‘Voice of Freedom’, ‘Maud Muller’, ‘The Brewing of Soma’ which had the hymn for which he wrote the words, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, and ‘Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyll’. His verse is often marred by sentimentality and poor technique, but his best poems are still read for their moral beauty and simple sentiments and are regarded as an important voice of his age.