Profile of the Day: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Posted February 27, 2012 by Amanda | One Comment

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On February 27, 1807, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine. Longfellow was considered one of the most popular poets of his day. His works were significant in shaping the American character and legacy, especially his poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” which created the American legend of Paul Revere‘s Midnight Ride. Longfellow was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri‘s The Divine Comedy.

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  • Llittle62

    My 2nd great-grand aunt was Mary Ann “Alice” Alvin Haines (08 May 1856 to 6 June 1924).

    Mary Haines wrote her original diary in a fifty cent ledger book.  She recorded events of the three year period she was employed by Mrs. Richard H. Dana of Boston. Mrs Dana was the former Edith Longfellow, daughter of Professor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of Cambridge. Mary was nurse to Edith’s two sons Dicky and Harry.

    She lived with the Dana’s in Boston, they summered in Nahant and Mary travelled with the family in Europe in 1882 shortly after Edith’s father died at home in Cambridge.  Mary and the Dana boys visited Grandfather Longfellow frequently at his home prior to his death.
    The Dana’s and Professor Longfellow and family were very kind to Mary and were genuinely fond of her. Edith and her sisters Alice and Allegra Longfellow wrote to Mary for some time after she left their employ in 1882 to marry John Roderick Stevens. Their letters indicated they valued Mary’s confidence, advice and sympathetic ear.

    Mary Ann Alvin Hayes was born May 8, 1855 in Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada, 5th of 7 children born to John Haines and Edith Elise Childs, after Edith’s death in 1860, Mary’s father had a second family of four with Jane (Clair?) Sharp for a total of 11. Her writings reflect the love for her family, particularly her oldest brother Joesph, who died in London in 1881.

    The Journal is sometimes sad. Mary was lonely.  She believed she would soon lose all 5 of her brothers. All 5 were seaman. In 1881, James was gone, drowned off the Grand Banks, George was reported dead in Italy, Joesph was terminally ill in London and Alex and John were someplace at sea.

    Mary was deeply religious and tried harder than most to “do her duty” and do God’s work.
    An interesting narrative entwined among her recordings of daily events is the revival of her romance that started 7 years prior in Nova Scotia. John Roderick Stevens from Truro Nova Scotia commenced writing from Republic, Michigan where he worked as a miner. The correspondence and John’s romantic visits to Boston culminated in their marriage in October 1882. They moved to Michigan and raised a family of 6, 4 of whom survived to care for Mary in her latter days – Edith, George, John & Mildred Stevens.

    Copyright 1984 Ralph C. and Peggy A. Stevens