Holmes, Oliver Wendell

Holmes, Oliver Wendell
born Aug. 29, 1809, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.
died Oct. 7, 1894, Cambridge

U.S. physician, poet, and humourist.

He joined the Harvard faculty in 1847 and later became dean of its medical school. He won national acclaim with his poem "Old Ironsides" (1830). From 1857 he published his "Breakfast-Table" essays in The Atlantic Monthly, later republished in such collections as The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858) and The Professor of the Breakfast-Table (1860). Other works include the poem "The Chambered Nautilus" and the novel Elsie Venner (1861). Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., is his son.

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▪ American physician and writer

born Aug. 29, 1809, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.
died Oct. 7, 1894, Cambridge
 American physician, poet, and humorist notable for his medical research and teaching, and as the author of the “Breakfast-Table” series of essays.

      Holmes read law at Harvard University before deciding on a medical career; and, following studies at Harvard and in Paris, he received his degree from Harvard in 1836. He practiced medicine for 10 years, taught anatomy for two years 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, a post he held until 1882. His most important medical contribution was that of calling attention to the contagiousness of puerperal fever (1843).

      Holmes achieved his greatest fame, however, as a humorist and poet. He wrote much poetry and comic verse during his early school years; 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), written in conversational style and displaying Holmes's learning and wit.

      Among his other works are the poems “The Chambered Nautilus” (1858) and “The Deacon's Masterpiece, or ‘The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay' ” (1858), often seen as an attack on Calvinism, and the psychological novel Elsie Venner (1861), also an attack on Calvinism that aroused controversy.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell,Jr. — Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. 1841 1935. American jurist who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1902 1932). Many of his opinions greatly influenced the American concept of law. * * * …   Universalium

  • Holmes,Oliver Wendell — Holmes (hōmz, hōlmz), Oliver Wendell. 1809 1894. American physician and writer. A professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard (1847 1882), he wrote humorous conversational pieces, including The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1858). * * * …   Universalium

  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. — born March 8, 1841, Boston, Mass. died March 6, 1935, Washington, D.C. U.S. jurist, legal historian, and philosopher. He was the son of Oliver Wendell Holmes and Amelia Lee Jackson, daughter of a Massachusetts supreme court justice. As an officer …   Universalium

  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. — (8 mar. 1841, Boston, Mass., EE.UU.–6 mar. 1935, Washington, D.C.). Jurista, historiador jurídico legal y filósofo estadounidense. Fue hijo de Oliver Wendell Holmes y Amelia Lee Jackson, hija de un juez de la corte suprema de Massachusetts.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell —  (1809–1894) Physician, professor at Harvard, poet, essayist, and novelist, father of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841–1935), associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1902–1932) …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell — (29 ago. 1809, Cambridge, Mass., EE.UU.–7 oct. 1894, Cambridge). Médico, poeta y humorista estadounidense. Ingresó como docente a la Universidad de Harvard en 1847 y llegó a ser decano de la facultad de medicina. Se hizo famoso en todo el país… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL —    a celebrated American author, born the son of a Congregational minister, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and graduated in arts and medicine at Harvard; became professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Dartmouth College, but resigned and settled in… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell — (1809 1894)    Essayist, novelist, and poet, was b. of good Dutch and English stock at Camb., Massachusetts, the seat of Harvard, where he graduated in 1829. He studied law, then medicine, first at home, latterly in Paris, whence he returned in… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

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  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court In office December 4, 1902[ …   Wikipedia

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