Thomas Bailey Aldrich was born November 11 1836 – died March 19, 1907. Thomas was a poet, novelist, traveler, and editor, born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. When he was but a child his father moved to New Orleans, but after ten years the boy was sent back to Portsmouth—the “Rivermouth” of several of his stories—to prepare for college. This period of his life is partly described in his semi-autobiographical novel The Story of a Bad Boy (1870), of which “Tom Bailey” is the juvenile hero. Critics have said that this novel contains the first realistic depiction of childhood in American fiction and prepared the ground for Huckleberry Finn.


His father’s death in 1849 compelled Aldrich to abandon the idea of college and he entered his uncle’s business office in New York at age 16 in 1852. Here he soon became a constant contributor to the newspapers and magazines, and the intimate friend of the young poets, artists and wits of the metropolitan Bohemia of the early sixties, among whom were EC Stedman, RH Stoddard, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Bayard Taylor and Walt Whitman. From 1856 to 1859 he was on the staff of the Home Journal, then edited by NP Willis, while during the Civil War he was himself editor of the New York Illustrated News. Aldrich had written much, both in prose and verse. His successive volumes of verse, chiefly The Ballad of Babie Bell (1856), Pampinea, and Other Poems (1861), Cloth of Gold (1874), Flower and Thorn (1876), Friar Jerome’s Beautiful Book (1881), Mercedes and Later Lyrics (18S}), Wyndham Towers (1889), and the collected editions of 1865, 1882, 1897 and 1900, showed him to be a poet of lyrical skill, dainty touch and felicitous conceit, the influence of Herrick being constantly apparent. In the novels, Prudence Palfrey (1874), The Queen of Sheba (1877), and The Stillwater Tragedy (1880), there is more rapid action; but the Portsmouth pictures in the first are elaborated with the affectionate touch shown in the shorter humorous tale, A Rivermouth Romance (1877). In An Old Town by the Sea (1893) the author’s birthplace was once more commemorated, while travel and description are the theme of From Ponkapog to Pesth (1883). Aldrich died at Boston on 19 March 1907. His last words were “In spite of it all, I’m going to sleep.”


Original Thomas Bailey Aldrich Autographed Hand Written Letter. Written on Saranac Lake, New York Stationary. Letter has been folded in quarters. Approx. Size 7 7/8 x 9 5/8 inches. Regular Price – $ 295.00 / Sale Price – $ 149.95.

What People Are Saying…