Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Take Your Poet to School Week: Eugene Field, the Poet of Childhood

Not long after we moved to St. Louis, we visited the Eugene Field House Museum. I remember an overcast day, a not-well-lit museum, and a focus more on old toys than on Eugene Field, the man once called “the poet laureate of childhood.” And I remember a small story about the museum – it had been saved by schoolchildren.

The museum sits at what was originally known as 634 S. Fifth Street and now known as South Broadway. It is just south of Busch Stadium, on the southern edge of downtown. Built about 1845, the row house was one of 12 known as Walsh’s Row. Attorney Roswell Field, who represented his law firm’s janitor, Dred Scott, in the landmark Supreme Court case, moved his wife and baby son Eugene there in 1851. A second son, Roswell, came shortly after. When Eugene was six, his mother died, and his father sent both boys to live with a cousin in Amherst, Mass.

When Eugene was 18, his father died. He attended three colleges, including the University of Missouri at Columbia, but never graduated. At 21, he received his share of his father’s estate, went to Europe, and spent it. Two years later, he returned, got married, and went to work for a St. Louis newspaper.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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