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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GRISWOLD, Rufus Wilmot, editor, born in Benson, Vermont, 15 February, 1815; died in New York city, 27 August, 1857. Much of his early life was spent in travel, partly in the interior of the United States. and partly in central Europe. As a youth he was apprenticed to the publisher of a newspaper, where he acquired a knowledge of type-setting and the routine of a publication-office, and sometimes acted as assistant editor. Tiring of the press-room, he studied theology, and became a minister of the Baptist denomination. He preached with success. and had obtained the degree of D. D., when he suddenly forsook the pulpit to become a journalist and book-compiler. From 1841 till 1843 he edited, with great credit, "Graham's Magazine," published in Philadelphia. Thereafter he became associate editor of several weekly newspapers in Boston and New York city, among them the "New Yorker," "Brother Jonathan," and "New World." In 1852 he edited the "International Magazine" in New York city, which was for a time a rival to Harper's, but was afterward absorbed by that periodical. Griswold was an industrious worker, and his publications show him to have been a thoughtful writer and a man of extensive reading. But his estimates of contemporary American writers, with many o f whom he came into literary and personal rivalry, is frequently partial and perverted. His works include" Poets and Poetry of America" (Philadelphia, 1842), which has passed through twenty editions; "Biographical Annual" (1842); "Christian Ballads and other Poems" (1844); discourse on the "Present Condition of Philosophy" (1844); "Poets and Poetry of England in the Nineteenth Century" (1845); "Prose Writers of America" (1846); " Washington and the Generals of the Revolution," in connection with other writers (2 vols., 1847); "Napoleon and the Marshals of the Empire," with Horace B. Wallace (2 vols., 1847); "Female Poets of America" (1848); "Sacred Poets of England and America" (1849); "The Republican Court" (New York, 1854); and "Scenes in the Life of the Saviour." He also compiled "Curiosities of American Literature," which was attached to an American edition of Isaac D'Israeli's writings, and edited the earliest edition of Milton's prose works published in the United States. He was also one of the editors of the "Works of Edgar Allan Poe" (3 vols., New York, 1850), and to this publication he furnished a biographical sketch, which has been much criticised. At the close of Griswold's career he was engaged in a revision of his several works on American literature.
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