Author Archives: Richard King

Twain, Mark (Samuel Clemens)

by John Samson (2000) [CLEMENS, SAMUEL LANGHORNE], “MARK TWAIN” (1835- 1910). Though more widely known for his writing on the Mississippi River, Samuel Clemens traveled extensively at sea, experiences that find their way into a number of the writings he Continue reading & text links

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Trethewey, Natasha

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Ballou, Maturin Murray (“Lieut. Murray,” “Frank Forester”)

by Mary Malloy (2000) [BALLOU, MATURIN MURRAY], “LIEUT. MURRAY,” “FRANK FORESTER” (1820-1895). An influential publisher of American periodicals, Maturin Murray Ballou was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He traveled extensively and entered the literary world by writing descriptive letters of his Continue reading & text links

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Murphy, Robert Cushman

by R. D. Madison (2000) MURPHY, ROBERT CUSHMAN (1887-1973). Born in Brooklyn, Robert Cushman Murphy graduated from Brown University in 1911. The following year he married Grace E. Barstow and embarked on the whaler Daisy for the South Atlantic. A naturalist Continue reading & text links

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Mulzac, Hugh

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Mowat, Farley

by Boyd Childress (2000) MOWAT, FARLEY [MCGILL] (1921-2014). Farley Mowat is one of Canada’s more popular and controversial writers. Born 12 May 1921, in Belleview, Ontario, Mowat graduated from the University of Toronto in 1949. He spent two years during Continue reading & text links

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Mosley, Robert

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Pyle, Howard

by Peter H. McCracken (2000) PYLE, [JOHN] HOWARD (1853-1911). Howard Pyle was one of America’s foremost artists of children’s books, and he exerted a dramatic influence on generations of book illustrators. Pyle was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Until attending art school, Continue reading & text links

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Poyer, David

by Joseph Navratil (2000) POYER, DAVID [ANDREISSEN] (1949- ). David Poyer graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971 and is a naval reserve captain, experienced sailor, and underwater diver. Poyer adapted his active-duty navy experiences to write best-selling sagas of Continue reading & text links

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Pound, Ezra

by Robert E. Kibler (2000) POUND, EZRA [LOOMIS] (1885-1972). Ezra Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho. As an expatriate living in Europe, Pound’s experiments with translation and poetic form resulted in his vivid translation of the eighth-century Anglo-Saxon poem “The Seafarer” Continue reading & text links

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Porter, Katherine Anne

by Jeraldine R. Kraver (2000) PORTER, KATHERINE ANNE (1890-1980). Callie Russell Porter was born in Indian Creek, Texas, into a poor family and died in Silver Spring, Maryland, early assuming her paternal grandmother’s name. Living in Mexico, New York, Paris, Germany, Continue reading & text links

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Porter, David

by Udo Nattermann (2000) PORTER, DAVID (1780-1843). The son of a veteran of the American Revolution, David Porter was born in Boston and grew up in Baltimore. He began his naval career as a midshipman in 1798 and became master commandant Continue reading & text links

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Poe, Edgar Allan

by Joan Tyler Mead (2000) POE, EDGAR ALLAN (1809-1849). Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his tales of Gothic horror, was a writer of poetry, short and long fiction, an unfinished drama, criticism, literary theory, essays, and a “cosmological prose poem.” Continue reading & text links

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Plath, Sylvia

by Claire J. Keyes (2000) PLATH, SYLVIA (1932-1963). Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, and her family moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts, a seaside suburb, in 1936, where she lived until they moved inland to Wellesley in 1942. Her childhood by the Continue reading & text links

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Philbrick, Nathaniel

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Phelps, Elizabeth

by Mira Dock (2000) PHELPS ELIZABETH [STUART] (1844-1911). Growing up in Andover, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Phelps was a lifelong resident of New England and had a summer home in Gloucester. She was a staunch feminist who participated in causes that ranged from Continue reading & text links

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Peterson, Charles Jacob (“J. Thornton Randolph” or “Harry Danforth”)

by Robert L. Gale (2000) [PETERSON, CHARLES JACOB], “HARRY DANFORTH,” “J. THORNTON RANDOLPH” (1819-1887). Charles Jacob Peterson was an editor, publisher, and historian, born in Philadelphia, where he worked all his life. Once he acquired an ample fortune, he and Continue reading & text links

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Perry, Commodore Matthew

by Nathaniel T. Mott (2000) PERRY, COMMODORE MATTHEW [CALBRAITH] (1794-1858). Commodore Matthew Perry served a long and distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, which began in January 1809, when he was commissioned as a midshipman. Perry is best known for commanding Continue reading & text links

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Percival, James Gates

by Bernard F. Engel (2000) PERCIVAL, JAMES GATES (1795-1856). Though he often mentioned the ocean in his poetry, James Gates Percival made little use of direct observation. As state geologist for Connecticut, he mapped the landforms along the Atlantic and Long Continue reading & text links

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Paretsky, Sara

by Mary DeJong Obuchowski (2000) PARETSKY, SARA (1947- ). V. I. Warshawski, the protagonist in all of Sara Paretsky’s mysteries to date, is a private investigator in Chicago who pursues criminals. In some of her exploits, Warshawski traces them to Continue reading & text links

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Paine, Ralph Delahaye

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Safina, Carl

by Rachel Earnhardt (2017) SAFINA, CARL (1955-). Carl Safina is a biologist, author, activist, and educator. Born on May 23, 1955, in Brooklyn, NY, Safina spent his childhood fishing, breeding pigeons, and playing music. In high school, he participated in Continue reading & text links

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Herbert, Frank

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Wouk, Herman

by Laurence W. Mazzeno (2000) WOUK, HERMAN (1915-2019). Herman Wouk, author of the best-selling sea novel The Caine Mutiny (1951) and other works about the navy in World War II, was born in New York City, eldest son of Russian Jewish Continue reading & text links

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Woolson, Constance Fenimore

by Victoria Brehm (2000) WOOLSON, CONSTANCE FENIMORE (1840-1894). One of the first American realists, Constance Fenimore Woolson began her career writing about the Great Lakes, including an early story, “Margaret Morris” (1872), which is the first shipwreck fiction of the Continue reading & text links

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Wilson, Sloan

by Robert Shenk (2000) WILSON, SLOAN (1920-2003). Sloan Wilson was a Coast Guard officer before he became a novelist and a yachtsman before he gained a commission in the Coast Guard. He came to regard his Coast Guard experience as Continue reading & text links

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Wilson, Gilbert

by Elizabeth Schultz (2000) WILSON, GILBERT [BROWN] (1907-1991). Having studied in the 1930s to be a muralist, from the 1940s through the 1960s Gilbert Wilson worked in diverse media to interpret Moby-Dick (1851) visually, with the intention of bringing Herman Continue reading & text links

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Wilson, August

by Sarah Dohan (2016) WILSON, AUGUST (1945-2005). August Wilson, a prominent American playwright, was born Frederick August Kittel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 27, 1945 to Frederick Kittel, a German baker, and Daisy Wilson Kittel, an African American cleaning woman. Continue reading & text links

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Williams, William Carlos

by Robert E. Kibler (2000) WILLIAMS, WILLIAM CARLOS (1883-1963). Although modern poet, novelist, and essayist William Carlos Williams once said that all of his art came out of the work-yard of his lifelong home in Rutherford, New Jersey, where he Continue reading & text links

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Williams, Ben Ames

All the Brothers Were Valiant (1919) Continue reading & text links

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Wilkes, Charles

by Jason Smith (2013) WILKES, CHARLES (1798-1877). Charles Wilkes was an American naval officer, hydrographer, and writer. He commanded the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838 to 1842, wrote its five-volume Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition (1844), edited the expedition’s Continue reading & text links

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Whittier, John Greenleaf

by R. D. Madison (2000) WHITTIER, JOHN GREENLEAF (1807-1892). A Quaker abolitionist and poet, John Greenleaf Whittier epitomizes the poet of rural life. With his New England contemporaries, however, he had little relish for straying far from the reach of the Continue reading & text links

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Whitman, Walt

by Philip A. Greasley (2000) WHITMAN, WALT[ER] (1819-1892). Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, near Huntington on northwestern Long Island. With almost two centuries of ancestral residence on the island and some seafaring tradition in his family, Whitman was naturally Continue reading & text links

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Wheatley, Phillis

This entry is currently in peer review (July 2021). Click here for more information.

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Vukelich, George

by Donald P. Curtis (2000) VUKELICH, GEORGE (1927-1995). “[I]t was good to be on the Great Lakes,” wrote George Vukelich in 1955 to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal, after a spell as an ore boat deckhand. This sentiment pervades Continue reading & text links

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Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.

by Christopher Lee (2000) VONNEGUT, KURT, JR (1922-2007). Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis but soon moved east, eventually settling in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1951, where he lived for twenty years. His essay “Brief Encounters on the Inland Waterway” Continue reading & text links

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Vollmann, William T.

by Dana L. Peterson (2000) VOLLMANN, WILLIAM T[ANNER]. (1959- ). William T. Vollmann’s very ambitious project is a seven-novel series entitled Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes, which interweaves history, myth and legend, imagination, illustrations, and personal travel Continue reading & text links

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Vidal, Gore

by Donald Yannella (2000) VIDAL, GORE [EUGENE LUTHER] (1925-2012). Gore Vidal was born in West Point, New York, attended Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and served in the army during World War II. A novelist, playwright, and essayist, he Continue reading & text links

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Updike, John

by Thomas R. Brooks (2000) UPDIKE, JOHN [HOYER] (1932-2009). John Updike is the author of over fifteen novels and an impressive body of shorter fiction, poetry, and criticism, much of which has been published in The New Yorker. Born in Pennsylvania, Continue reading & text links

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Thoreau, Henry David

by Capper Nichols (2000) THOREAU, HENRY DAVID (1817-1862). Henry David Thoreau is most often associated with his birthplace and home, Concord, Massachusetts, and the woods, ponds, and streams in the vicinity of the town. But he frequently made excursions to other Continue reading & text links

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Thompson, John

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Thaxter, Celia Laighton

by Joseph Flibbert (2000) THAXTER, CELIA [LAIGHTON] (1835-1894). Celia Thaxter was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Thomas and Eliza Laighton, who moved to the Isles of Shoals, nine miles off the coast of New Hampshire, when Celia was five years Continue reading & text links

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Taylor, James Bayard

by James L. Gray (2000) TAYLOR, JAMES BAYARD (1825-1878). James Bayard Taylor, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, launched his career as a travel writer with Views Afoot (1846), an account of a walking tour of Europe, and soon became probably the Continue reading & text links

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Symmes, John Cleves, “Captain Adam Seaborn”

by Richard J. King [SYMMES, JOHN CLEVES], “CAPTAIN ADAM SEABORN” (1780-1829). Some scholars believe that “Captain Adam Seaborn,” the author of this fictional, first-person narrative, is the pseudonym of army officer and amateur geographer Captain John Cleves Symmes (1780-1829). Symmes Continue reading & text links

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Stratemeyer, Edward L.

The Last Cruise of the Spitfire (1894) Continue reading & text links

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Stowe, Harriet Beecher

by Margherita M. Desy (2000) STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER (1811-1896). Harriet Beecher Stowe is internationally famous for her antislavery best-seller Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). In the summer of 1852, still living in Brunswick, Maine, where she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe began Continue reading & text links

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Stone, William Leete

by Boyd Childress (2000) STONE, WILLIAM LEETE (1792-1844). William Leete Stone was a journalist and writer whose career as a newspaperman largely overshadowed his work as a historian. Born in New Paltz, New York, Stone had little formal schooling in advance Continue reading & text links

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Stone, Robert

by Dennis Berthold (2000) STONE, ROBERT [ANTHONY] (1937-2015). A distinguished, award-winning novelist, Robert Stone turned to nautical fiction in his fifth book, Outerbridge Reach (1992). Born in New York to a family of tugboaters, he served from 1955 to 1958 as Continue reading & text links

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Stoddard, Elizabeth

by Elizabeth Schultz (2000) STODDARD, ELIZABETH [DREW BARSTOW] (1823-1902). Iconoclastic novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet, Elizabeth Stoddard was born in the coastal town of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, the daughter of its foremost shipbuilder and maritime merchant. Both the fluctuations of Continue reading & text links

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Stockton, Frank R.

by Peter J. Kratzke (2000) STOCKTON, FRANK [FRANCIS] R[ICHARD]. (1834-1902). Best known for his short story “The Lady or the Tiger?” (1882), Frank R. Stockton lived in the eastern United States and wrote variously for both children and adults. His interest Continue reading & text links

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