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Stevens, Wallacelocked

(02 October 1879–02 August 1955)
  • Barbara M. Fisher

Extract

Stevens, Wallace (02 October 1879–02 August 1955), poet, was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, the son of Garrett Barcalow Stevens, an attorney and businessman, and Margaretha Catherine Zeller, a former schoolteacher. The second of five children, Wallace grew up with two brothers and two sisters in a home where their thrifty, politically active father was a respected member of the community and “mother just kept house and ran the family.” This included reading a chapter from the Bible to the children every night and on Sundays playing and singing hymns at the piano—activities echoed in the “choirs” and “chorales” of the later lyrics. Books were another source of pleasure in the Stevens household and a way to indulge the family disposition for personal privacy. Stevens later observed, “At home, our house was rather a curious place, with all of us in different parts of it, reading” (Holly Stevens, ...

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