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Holmes, Oliver Wendell.

Holmes, Oliver Wendell (b. Aug. 29, 1809, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.--d. Oct. 7, 1894, Cambridge)

American physician, poet, and humorist chiefly remembered for a few poems and for his "Breakfast-Table" series of essays.

Holmes received a degree from Harvard in 1836. He practiced medicine for 10 years, taught anatomy at Dartmouth College (Hanover, N.H.), and in 1847 became professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard. He was later made dean of the Harvard Medical School.

Holmes achieved his greatest fame, however, as a humorist and poet. He won national acclaim with the publication of "Old Ironsides" (1830), which aroused public sentiment against destruction of the USS Constitution, an American fighting ship from the War of 1812. Beginning in 1857, he contributed his "Breakfast-Table" papers to The Atlantic Monthly and subsequently published The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858), The Professor of the Breakfast-Table (1860), The Poet of the Breakfast-Table (1872), and Over the Teacups (1891).

Among his other works are the poems Chambered Nautilus, The (1858) and Wonderful One-Hoss Shay,The (1858) and the psychological novel Elsie Venner (1861).

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Article Type:Brief biography
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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