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Selected Poetry of Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1863-1940)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. Casey at the Bat


Notes on Life and Works

Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and raised in Worcester, Thayer graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in philosophy in 1885 after editing the Harvard Lampoon. Its business manager, William Randolph Hearst, hired Thayer as humour columnist for the San Francisco Examiner 1896-88. His last piece, dated June 3, 1888, was a ballad entitled Casey. Although it made him famous, and Thayer recited it at a Harvard class reunion in 1895 and contributed several other comic poems for Hearst's New York Journal a year later, Thayer had a low opinion of the worth of his verse and turned to make his livelihood by overseeing his family's mills in Worcester. He moved to Santa Barbara in 1912, where he married Rosalind Buel Hammett and retired. Martin Gardner gives a brief life of Thayer in Casey at the Bat (2nd edn.: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984; PS 3014 T3 C332 1984 Robarts Library).

Biographical information

Given name: Ernest Lawrence
Family name: Thayer
Birth date: 1863
Death date: 1940