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Longfellow's 150th Anniversary Today Is Marked by Exhibitions

A 'Simple-Minded Chap'?


The 150th anniversary of Longfellow's birth will be celebrated today by two special exhibits in Cambridge. One hundred and twenty-five manuscripts, memorabilia, and first editions are being shown at Houghton Library, and special exhibits are on display at Longfellow House.

This afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m., visitors may view the displays at Longfellow House, 105 Brattle Street, without payment of the usual admission charges.

None of the faculty members contacted yesterday was very enthusiastic about Longfellow's work. Perhaps the least critical was Howard Mumford Jones professor of English, who said that Longfellow wrote some very good sonnets and was valuable as a translator. Jones ascribed Longfellow's present lack of popularity to his lack of intellectual depth.

Kenneth Lynn '45, assistant professor of English, commented, "Official anniversaries tend to resurrect official reputations, which is particularly too bad in the case of Longfellow. If only we could forget "Paul Revere's Ride" we might be able to remember that Longfellow was both a humorist and a master of versification."

Perry G. E. Miller, professor of American Literature, stated that Longfellow was immensely important in American literature but that he was a "simple minded chap."

Taught at Harvard

Although Longfellow attended and first taught at Bowdoin, his name is generally associated with Harvard where he was the first Smith Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures from 1836 to 1854.

The first complete draft of "Hiawatha," on exhibit at Houghton Library, reveals that Longfellow first called it "Manabozha." Other manuscripts on display include "Priscilla," "Evangeline," and "Paul Revere's Ride."

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