EMERSON, RALPH WALDO. (1803-1882). American essayist and poet; the leading figure in the Transcendentalist movement. SP. (“R. Waldo Emerson”). 1p. CDV. N.p., July 3, 1876. A sepia Elliott & Fry photograph of Emerson, seated at a table, holding a book in his left hand, signed and dated on the verso.
The son of a Unitarian minister, Emerson entered Harvard College at age 14 and became the class poet. After his graduation he headed south where he was deeply affected by the institution of slavery. Upon his return to Massachusetts, he worked as a teacher and in Daniel Webster’s law office, before distinguishing himself as a student at Harvard’s Divinity School. Eventually, he grew disillusioned by the church’s teachings and left for England where he met Wordsworth, Coleridge and Carlyle.