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Short poem

Selected Poetry of Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950)

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. Anne Rutledge
  2. Benjamin Pantier
  3. Carl Hamblin
  4. The Circuit Judge
  5. Conrad Siever
  6. Davis Matlock
  7. Dora Williams
  8. Eugenia Todd
  9. The Hill
  10. Lambert Hutchins
  11. Lucinda Matlock
  12. Lyman King
  13. Margaret Fuller Slack
  14. Mrs. Benjamin Pantier
  15. Mrs. Kessler
  16. Rutherford McDowell
  17. Sarah Brown
  18. Seth Compton
  19. State's Attorney Fallas
  20. The Unknown
  21. Washington McNeely
  22. Widow McFarlane
  23. Yee Bow

Notes on Life and Works

Edgar Lee Masters was born August 23, 1868, in Garnett, Kansas, and spent his youth in Shipley Hill, Petersburg, and Lewistown, Illinois. Masters in 1915-16 depicted the latter two communities in his Spoon River Anthology. Educated at Knox College in 1889-90, Masters went on to study the law and was admitted to the bar in 1891. He practised law and from 1903 to 1911 was partner with Clarence Darrow in Chicago. After his great success with the Spoon River Anthology and winning Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize in 1916, Masters took up writing novels, biographies, and poetry full-time, but his later work was less successful with readers. In 1942, however, Masters won both the Award in Literature from American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the medal of the Poetry Society of America. Two years later he merited the Shelley Memorial Award, and in 1946 a fellowship from the American Academy of Poets. He died March 5, 1950, in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania. He had three children by his first wife, Helen Jenkins (married 1898, divorced 1923), and one child by his second wife, Ellen F. Coyne, an English teacher. Masters is buried in Petersburg, Illinois.

Biographical information

Given name: Edgar Lee
Family name: Masters
Birth date: 23 August 1868
Death date: 5 March 1950
Pseudonym: Webster Ford
Nationality: American
Education: Knox College: 1889 to 1890
Occupation: Lawyer
          Melrose Park, Pennsylvania to 1950
          Chelsea Hotel, New York: 1923
Buried at: Oakland Cemetery, Petersburg, Illinois
First RPO edition: 2003