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Aldrich, Thomas, Bailey (1836-1907)

Born on November 11, 1836, in Portsmouth, New Hampsire, Thomas Bailey Aldrich was a poet, novelist, traveler, and editor. His father's death in 1849 compelled Aldrich to abandon the idea of college, and at age 16 he entered his uncle's business office in New York, where he soon became a constant contributor to the newspapers and magazines. His use of the surprise ending influenced the development of the short story, and his popular classic The Story of a Bad Boy(1870), which is based on his childhood, was one of the first American novels to present a realistic portrayal of a young boy rather than a romanticized ideal. The book had a strong impact on other writers of the day, especially Mark Twain, who six years later wrote a similar story, Tom Sawyer. Aldrich's poems were published in such volumes as Cloth of Gold(1874) and Mercedes and Later Lyrics(1884). His best-known prose is Marjorie Daw and Other People (1873). Aldrich died at Boston on March 19, 1907.

  • The Thomas Bailey Aldrich Collection (C1216) consists of selected correspondence and manuscripts of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, an influential nineteenth-century American poet, short story writer, and editor.

  • About 75 editions of his works are in the General Rare Books Collections. In 1909, the Librarian of the University reported that 36 vols. of 1st editions of Aldrich had been received in the previous year from C.W. McAlpin, Class of 1888. Many additional volumes are the gift of Raymond T. Parrot '02. Princeton's holdings were checked in the ExB copy of Bibliography of American Literature [(ExB) 04703.184 vol. 1]. Check this listing as well as the Library's online catalogue for books' call numbers and their location. Also see: Princeton University Library Chronicle XV, 1 (Autumn, 1953) p. 50 [full text].

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