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Ralph Waldo Emerson Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Though long attributed to him, the poem "Father We Thank Thee" ("For flowers that bloom about our feet,/ Father, We Thank Thee./ For tender grass so fresh, so sweet,/ Father, We Thank Thee") was not written by Emerson. No one knows who really wrote it.14

After their wedding, The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia moved into the Old Manse, a house owned by Emerson's uncle Samuel Ripley.15

Emerson's emphasis on transcendence sometimes came at the cost of reality. When Emerson visited the dying Nathaniel Hawthorne and found him too frail to pull on his own boots, he lectured him about inner strength instead of just helping his sick friend put his shoes on.16

Emerson read Walt Whitman's draft of Leaves of Grass and thought it was genius; however, he told Whitman to cut the parts Emerson thought were too sexy. Whitman refused.17

Emerson has good company at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord. His neighbors in the "Authors' Ridge" section of the cemetery include Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott.18

At their first meeting, Emerson asked a young Harvard student named Henry David Thoreau if he kept a journal. From then on, Thoreau kept one for the rest of his life.19

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