Author: Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., c. 1850 - 56, picture by Josiah Johnson Hawes

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (18091904) was a prominent physician, author, poet, and longtime professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a Congregationalist minister, Holmes was an avid reader as a child and was noted for his talent for poetry. He began studying at Harvard College in 1825. Though initially drawn to the study of law, he eventually gravitated toward medicine, receiving a medical degree in 1836. During this time, Holmes continued to write poetry, publishing his first collection the same year he received his medical degree. After a brief stint running his own medical practice, Holmes began teaching anatomy at Harvard Medical School, and remained there until 1882. 

A New Eden

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Almost from the start, our fledgling republic was viewed by many not only as a new world, full of promise and opportunity, but also as a radically new human beginning, a new Garden of Eden. Such a view of America appears in this poem (1854) by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809–94), noted American physician and poet, and father of his namesake, the Supreme Court Justice.

Ode for Washington’s Birthday

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

This poem by prominent physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809–94), written for the Boston Mercantile Library Association’s celebration of Washington’s birthday on February 22, 1856, has us look back and remember the hero Washington and consider what it means to honor the nation’s “Father.”

Old Ironsides

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. wrote \"Old Ironsides\" to protest the scrapping of the historic United States Navy ship. Does Holmes\' words make you believe that the USS Constitution should have been saved?