Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BIRD, Robert Montgomery, novelist, born in Newcastle, Del., in 1803; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 22 January 1854. He was educated for the medical profession, and, after taking his diploma in Philadelphia, practiced for one year, but early turned his attention to literature, contributed to the "Monthly Magazine" of Philadelphia, and wrote three tragedies" The Gladiator," "Oraloosa," and "The Broker of Bogota"*all of which have been popular on the stage, especially the first, the principal character of which was one of the favorite personations of Edwin Forrest. His first novel, "Calavar," appeared in 1834, and was succeeded by "The Infidel" (Philadelphia, 1835), the scene of which, as well as that of his first story, was in Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest ; "The Hawks of Hawk Hollow" ; "Sheppard Lee" ; "Nick of the Woods" (1837), the scene of which is laid in Kentucky about the close of the revolution; "Peter Pilgrim" (1838), a collection of tales and sketches, including one of the earliest descriptions of the Mammoth Cave; and "Robin Day" (1839). They are marked by picturesque ness of description, and an animated narration. In 1839 Dr. Bird retired to his native village, but for a few years previous to his death edited the "North American Gazette" at Philadelphia, of which he became a joint proprietor. His son, Frederick Mayer, clergyman, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 28 June 1838, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1857, and at the union theological seminary in New York in 1860, was ordained as a Lutheran minister, and served during the civil war as a chaplain in the army. He took orders in the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1868, and became rector in Spottswood, New Jersey, in 1870, and subsequently in South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania In 1881 he accepted the professorship of psychology, Christian evidence, and rhetoric in Lehigh University. He collected a large hymnological library, and was the main editor of the "Lutheran Hymn-Book" (Baltimore, 1864), and collaborator with Bishop Odenheimer in "Hymns of the Spirit" (New York, 1871). He has published "Charles Wesley seen in his Finer and Less Familiar Poems" (1866), and a series of articles on hymn writing, which appeared in the New York "Independent" in 1886 and previous years.
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