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RICHARD GRANT WHITE (1822-1885)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 601 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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RICHARD GRANT WHITE (1822-1885), American Shakespearean scholar, philologist and essayist, was born in New York city, on the 23rd of May 1822. He graduated at the university of the City of New York in 1839, studied medicine and then law, and was admitted to the bar in 1845, but made no serious attempts to practise. He contributed (anonymously) musical criticisms to the New York Courier and Enquirer, of which he was co-editor in 1851-1858, and became a member of the staff of the New York World, when that paper was established in 1860. In 1861-1878 he was chief of the United States Revenue Marine Bureau, for the district of New York. When he was 21 years old he wrote his sonnet, " Washington: Pater Patriae," which, published anonymously, was frequently ascribed to Wordsworth, and by William Cullen Bryant was ascribed to Landor; White did not admit his authorship until 1852. In 1853 he contributed anonymously to Putnam's Magazine (October and November), an acute and destructive criticism of Collier's folio manuscript emendations of Shakespeare;) and in the following year this criticism was republished (with other matter) in his Shakespeare's Scholar: being Historical and Critical Studies of his Text, Characters, and Commentators; with an Examination of Mr Collier's Folio of 1623. During the Civil War he contributed to the Spectator, under the pseudonym, " A Yankee," a series of articles which greatly influenced English public opinion in favour of the North, while his clever and pungent satire, The New Gospel of Peace; according to St Benjamin, in four books (1863-1866)—also published anonymously—was an effective attack upon " copper-headism " and the advocates of " peace at any price." He died in New York on the 8th of April 1885. In addition to those mentioned above, his Shakespearean publications include, Essay on the Authorship of the Three Parts of King Henry VI. (1859), Memoirs of the Life of William Shakespeare; with an Essay towards the Expression of his Genius, and an account of the Rise and Progress of the English Drama to the Time of Shakespeare (1865) ; an annotated edition of Shakespeare's works in 3 vols. (1883), and Studies in Shakespeare (1885), pleading for a rational treatment of the plays without over-annotation, textual or aesthetic. On linguistic subjects he wrote Words and their Uses, Past and Present (1870), and a sequel, Every Day English (1880), which without linguistic thoroughness, stimulated interest in the general subject of good use in language. His other publications include National Hymns: How they are Written and How they are not Written (,861), containing some of the best and worst of 1200 hymns submitted to a committee (of which White was a member) in a competition for a prize offered for a national hymn; Poetry, Lyrical, Narrative and Satirical, of the Civil War (1866) ; The Fall of Man; or, The Loves of the Gorillas, By a Learned Gorilla (1871); Chronicles of Gotham. By U. Donough Outis (1871); The American View of the Copyright Question (1880), England Without and Within (1881), and The Fate of Mansfield Humphreys (1884), a novel. For estimates of White's critical writing see the review of Shakespeare's Scholar in the Eclectic Magazine, vol. xxxiv. (1855) ; and the articles in the Atlantic Monthly, vol. xlix. (1882) by E. P. Whipple, and vol. lvii. (1886). His son, STANFORD WHITE (1853-1906), the famous architect, studied under Henry H. Richardson, whom he assisted in the designing of Trinity Church, Boston, and became a member of the New York firm of McKim, Mead & White in 1881. He designed the Madison Square Garden, the Century and Metropolitan Clubs in New York City, the buildings of the New York University and the University of Virginia, and the pedestals for several of the statues by Augustus St Gaudens. He was murdered by Harry Thaw in 1906.
End of Article: RICHARD GRANT WHITE (1822-1885)
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