Edward Waldo Emerson (1844 - 1930)

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Birthplace: Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
Death: Died in Concord, Massachussets
Managed by: Sarah Burns
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About Edward Waldo Emerson

Like his sister Ellen, Edward Waldo Emerson (1844-1930)—the Emersons’ youngest child—was a life-long Concordian. Rejected for service during the Civil War because of fragile health, he went to college instead of war, graduating from Harvard in 1866. Although artistic, he bowed to practical considerations and studied medicine. He spent a year in Berlin and London while enrolled at Harvard Medical School, from which he graduated in 1874.

  Back in Concord, Edward Emerson assisted Dr. Josiah Bartlett, eventually taking over Bartlett’s practice.  After his father’s death in 1882, he left the practice of medicine and spent his time writing, editing his father’s papers and manuscripts, and painting.  He wrote the Social Circle biography of his father (1888), Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar (with Moorfield Storey; 1911), Henry Thoreau as Remembered by a Young Friend (1917), Early Years of the Saturday Club (1918), and edited his father’s correspondence with John Sterling (1897), the Centenary Edition of Emerson’s works (1903-1904), and (with Waldo Emerson Forbes) the 1909-1914 edition of Emerson’s journals.  He taught at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. 
  In 1874, Edward married Concord girl Annie Shepard Keyes, daughter of John Shepard Keyes.  They had seven children, six of whom predeceased their parents.  Edward lived up to the expectations placed upon him by the fact that (in the words of his Social Circle biographer Allen French) “as an Emerson he represented the traditions of generations of the Town.”  He served Concord as Superintendent of Schools and on the Board of Health, the Cemetery Committee, and the Library Committee.  He was a founding member of the Concord Antiquarian Society as well as a member of the Social Circle.  He was also an accomplished horseman. 
  As Allen French pointed out, Edward Waldo Emerson could not avoid living in the shadow of his father.  At his funeral in 1930, Bliss Perry paid tribute to the man’s “admirable courage and resourcefulness in making the best of second choices.”   

“Education. Don’t let them eat their seed-corn; don’t let them anticipate, or ante-date, & be young men, before they have finished their boyhood. Let them have the fields & woods, & learn their secret & the base & foot-ball, & wrestling, & brickbats, & suck all the strength & courage that lies for them in these games; let them ride bareback, & catch their horse in his pasture, let them hook & spear their fish, & shin a post and a tall tree, & shoot their partridge & trap the woodchuck, before they begin to dress like collegians, & sing in serenades, & make polite calls.”—RWE, journal, April-May?, 1856

“I am very happy to hear of your mending health, which you must carefully respect over all the studies & professors in the world, since it has been once so severely shaken, & you the only male heir of your line … ”—RWE to Edward Waldo Emerson, December 17, 1871.

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Edward Emerson's Timeline

1844
July 10, 1844
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
1874
September 19, 1874
Age 30
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
1875
July 11, 1875
Age 31
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
1876
July 3, 1876
Age 31
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
1878
July 6, 1878
Age 33
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
1880
April 28, 1880
Age 35
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
October 29, 1880
Age 36
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
1882
October 29, 1882
Age 38
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
1884
October 26, 1884
Age 40
1886
November 28, 1886
Age 42
Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA