Riley, James Whitcomb

(redirected from James Whitcomb Riley)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Riley, James Whitcomb

Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849–1916, American poet, b. Greenfield, Ind., known as the Hoosier poet. He was at various times a traveling actor, a sign painter, and a newspaperman. Under the name “Benj. F. Johnson of Boone” he began to write verse in the Hoosier dialect for the Indianapolis Journal in 1875, selections first collected in “The Old Swimmin'-Hole” and 'Leven More Poems (1883). Riley's verse was popular because of its humor, pathos, simplicity, and sentimentality. Especially well-known are his children's poems such as “Little Orphant Annie” and “The Runaway Boy.” Among the collections of his verse are Rhymes of Childhood (1890) and Knee Deep in June (1912).


See biography by M. Dickey (Youth, 1919; Maturity, 1922); study by P. Revell (1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Riley, James Whitcomb (Benjamin F. Johnson, of Boone, pen name)

(1849–1916) poet; born in Greenfield, Ind. He left school at age 16, worked as a house and sign painter (1870–71), and as a lecturer (1872–76). After working in his father's law office (1875–76), he moved to Indianapolis (1879) and worked as a journalist (1879–88); many of his poems were first published in the Indianapolis Journal. He was a popular, sentimental poet, often using a Hoosier (Indiana) dialect, as in "Little Orphant Annie" and "When the Frost is on the Punkin'."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
(2.) It is worth noting that the subtitle of Dunbar's poem "James Whitcomb Riley" is "From a Westerner's Point of View." Although the poem's speaker is the said "Westerner," speaking in Hoosier dialect, the "Westerner's Point of View" is also that of Dunbar himself, who shares with the poem's speaker a passionate admiration for Riley's verse.
The Old Swimmin' Hole and 'Leven More Poems by James Whitcomb Riley contained some of Riley's most famous verse depicting rustic life in Indiana.
When James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) was growing up in Greenfield, Ind., the town's 1,000 residents relished the snappy rivalry of several newspapers whose arsenal of readership ammunition included everything from national politics to local gossip and homegrown poetry.
James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) grew up in Greenfield, Indiana, where he attended public schools and advanced as far as McGuffey's Sixth Reader (which was as far as one could go).
He lived in a time when literary regionalism and the use of dialect were the vogue; he was especially under Page's influence and was an admirer of Robert Burns and James Whitcomb Riley. As an Ohioan, born in Dayton, he did not know the Deep South, and more bitter portrayals of black life in a white culture were still to come.
Ackerman, of the section of pulmonology and critical care in the department of pediatrics at the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis.
Experience the Victorian Holiday Display at the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home.
Chris has always loved the poems of James Whitcomb Riley. Join Chris and Abby as they travel to the year 1889 to meet the author.
Barnum paid a visit, as did James Whitcomb Riley. Songwriter Paul Dresser, legend has it, wrote "On the Banks of the Wabash" on the Mudlavia's piano, and even Al Capone supposedly stopped at the resort.
Dunbar is best known for his dialect poetry; one of the best of his dialect poems is "When de Co'n Pone's Hot." It shows the influence of James Whitcomb Riley by being as much a celebration of black family life as "When The Frost Is on the Punkin" was a celebration of Hoosier family life.
One of the best, "Leonainie," came from the pen of James Whitcomb Riley. William Cullen Bryant was the similar victim of a poem, entitled "A Vision of Immortality."
Eugster, a pediatric endocrinologist with James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis.