HIGGINSON, THOMAS WENTWORTH. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 22,
1823; died there, 1911. Minister, reformer, soldier, historian,
critic, and poet, Colonel Higginson touched life at many points,
both in action and contemplation. He maintained always the happy
balance between these phases of experience and neither permitted
the lure of scholarship and literature to draw him from life
nor the demands of life to rob him of his sanctuary in the arts.
The ripeness of culture, the enrichment of great friendships,
the association with historic events, gave to his genial age
a particular mellowness and beauty. His youth was similar to
that of Emerson.
He graduated at Harvard, became a teacher, and entered the liberal
ministry. Here, however, the parallel ends, since Colonel Higginson's
life in the next few years was actively spent in the anti-slavery
agitation. In the Civil War, after the Emancipation Proclamation,
he was colonel of the first colored regiment of the Federal army
and served in the South Carolina and Florida campaigns. After
the war he retired to Cambridge where his later years were spent
in writing and lecturing.
This biographical note is reprinted
from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.