Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, a Unitarian minister, died when Emerson was eight years of age. Raised by his mother and aunt, Ralph Waldo Emerson began writing as a child. He attended the Boston Latin School, where he studied the classics. After graduating from Harvard College in 1821, Emerson became a Unitarian minister like his father. However, after his wife’s death in 1831, he began doubting his faith and turned to Transcendentalism, a philosophy based on metaphysical idealism developed by Plato. In its simplest terms, transcendentalism can be explained as having faith in ones own intellect or instinct as opposed to a faith in God. He formed the Transcendental Club in 1836 in Boston, Massachusetts, giving many lectures and publishing various works including the essay entitled “Self Reliance”. Earning a reputation as a major American poet, Emerson published his collected Poems in 1847 and May-Day in 1867. Ralph Waldo Emerson died on April 27, 1882 in Concord, Massachusetts.
Excerpt from The Humble-Bee
Burly dozing humble-bee
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique,
Far-off heats through seas to seek;
I will follow thee alone,
Thou animated torrid zone!
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer,
Let me chase thy waving lines;
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer,
Singing over shrubs and vines.
The Bobbin Girl by Emily Arnold McCulley about the Lowell, Massachusetts factory girls who were inspired by the writings and lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
More of Emerson’s poetry here.
Recite and/or memorize the poem:
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Learn more about Emerson’s homeland and complete:
Where is Massachusetts? Notebook Page
Where in the US is Massachusetts? Shutterfold
Massachusetts State Symbol Tab Book
State Flower and Bird Coloring Pages
State Flower and Bird Minit Book
…all found on Homeschool Share’s USA Connections Page.
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Take a rabbit trail to learn about bees with:
These sweet soft honey cookies and serve with honey-lemon tea!