Thomas Bailey Aldrich Biography

Thomas Bailey Aldrich was an American poet, editor and novelist. This biography profiles his childhood, life. writing career, achievements and timeline.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Quick Facts

Birthday: November 11, 1836

Nationality: American

Famous: Poets Editors

Died At Age: 70

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Also Known As: Thomas Aldrich

Born in: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States

Famous as: Poet & Novelist


Spouse/Ex-: Lillian Woodman

father: Elias Taft Aldrich

mother: Sarah Abba Bailey Aldrich

Died on: March 19, 1907

place of death: Boston

U.S. State: New Hampshire

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Thomas Bailey Aldrich was an American poet, editor and novelist, who went on to serve as the editor of some of the best known publications of the day. His family had planned to send him to Harvard University but his father died when he was still a child and hence the plan was abandoned. He quit school at the age of 13 and started working as a clerk in New York, but he continued to write side by side and before long his work started getting published in newspapers as well as magazines. It was during his time in New York that his first book ‘The Bells’ was published and eventually he started working for ‘New York Evening Mirror’ as a literary critic before moving on to ‘Home Journal’ as a writer. His most well-known work is the book ‘The Story of a Bad Boy’ that drew heavily from his own life. However, it was in his capacity as the editor of the famous American publication ‘The Atlantic Monthly’ that he is best known. He was the editor of the publication for nine years and was known for his independent views.

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Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Childhood & Early Life
  • Thomas Bailey Aldrich was born on 11 November 1836 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States to Elias Taft Aldrich and his wife Sarah Abba Bailey Aldrich. The family had its origins in the colonial families of New England.
  • His family shifted base to New York when he was five and to New Orleans when he was ten-year-old. When he turned ten his family sent him off to Samuel De Merritt’s school in Portsmouth in order to prepare for admission to Harvard University. However, his father passed away and any plans of going to university had to be shelved.
  • When he was 13, he decided to quit his studies and instead took up a job as a clerk in the office of a merchant in New York City. During his time in New York, he started working as a writer and also contributed to several publications including newspapers.
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  • When he was sixteen-year-old, he started working for his uncle in New York and simultaneously kept writing for a range of publications. However, he had his first break as a writer in 1855 when his book of verses titled ‘The Bells’ was published and he managed to garner a reputation in the literary circles through his friendships with prominent personalities of the time.
  • In 1856, he was appointed as one of the staff members at ‘Home Journal’ and remained in the position for three years. He subsequently became a sub-editor of the ‘Home Journal’ during his time at the publication. Previously, he had also been employed by the ‘New York Evening Mirror’ in the capacity of a literary critic.
  • During the American Civil War that lasted for four years from 1861 to 1865 he worked as editor of the ‘New York Illustrated News’. Following the conclusion of the Civil War, he was appointed as the editor of ‘Every Saturday’ and stayed in his position for the next 10 years till the publication was closed down by the publishers.
  • In 1870 his book ‘The Story of a Bad Boy’ was published in ‘Our Young Folks’. Three years later, he published another story collection ‘Marjorie Daw and Other People’. Other notable works include books of verse like ‘Cloth of Gold’, ‘Flower and Thorn’, ‘Wyndham Towers’ and ‘Mercedes and Later Lyrics’ among others.
  • In 1881, Aldrich was appointed as the editor of one of the most prestigious publications in America, ‘The Atlantic Monthly’. He remained the editor for nine years and was known to have a mind of his own as he refused to publish articles from influential figures if he did not think that they warranted any space in the publication. Following his stint at ‘The Atlantic Monthly’, he spent the rest of his days engaged in writing and travelling with his family.
Major Works
  • The book ‘The Story of a Bad Boy’ is regarded as one of his most important works partly due to the fact that the book was autobiographical in nature. The book was published in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He got married to Lillian Woodman on November 28 1865. The couple had two children, both sons. One of his sons, Charles, died of tuberculosis. He stopped writing altogether after the death of his son.
  • He died on 19 March 1907 at the age of 70 in Boston, Massachusetts. The reason for his death is unknown.

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- Thomas Bailey Aldrich Biography
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Last Updated
- October 25, 2017

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