Ralph Waldo Emerson

A leading figure in American thought and literature appeared in Richmond to give a lecture at Starr Hall.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a distinguished essayist, critic, poet, orator and popular philosopher who influenced the work of Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry James and Robert Frost.

On February 12, 1866 he spoke on “American Manners” to Richmond residents, giving a “pleasing and kindly criticism” on American social life.

He urged listeners that day to learn directly from life, to know the past from books and to express themselves through action.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, as literature, endure and perpetually inspire new generations.

When he spoke at Starr Hall in Richmond on February 12, 1866 the hearty new Englander battled very harsh winter weather, but it was worth it. His Richmond audience had “enthusiastically perdured” the blustery cold wind to hear the words of the country’s most profound scholar.


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June 19, 2012