Ok, so Richard wasn't a major poet by today's standards- he, however, built the Century magazine into the top-selling magazine of his day. He was liked and trusted by everyone. Twain and Cleveland considered him a confidante. What becomes apparent as one digs deeper into his life, is his mischievous nature and his sense of fun.

Here's Richard in 1892 at the dedication of the Washington Memorial Arch. The guy in the center with the mallet is William Rhinelander, the head of the committee that raised the money; right behind him to the left is Stanford White, the architect of the arch; and on right in the top hat is Richard, looking just as stuffy as the rest of them. Richard was secretary for the committee.

This is an early remembrance of his sister's:

"Exciting as was my cousin Emeline's debut, it was nothing, so far as my feelings went, compared to the first appearance of my brother on the stage. A recitation by him was sandwiched in somewhere between the 'compositions' and the music. He looked very smart in his black velvet suit, with a big white collar and a Scotch plaid sash tied across his breast. He was a little nervous, but he came manfully to the front of the platform and made his bow to the applauding audience. Then he raised his childish voice, and recited with inappropriate gesture these familiar lines:

'Oh, ever thus from childhood's hour,
I've seen my fondest hopes decay;
I never loved a tree or flower
But 'twas the first to fade away.
I never nursed---'

Then he paused and looked appealingly around, and began again with a trembling voice:

'I never nursed----I never nursed----'

Covering his face with his hands, he ran frightened from the stage, for he had completely forgotten his lines."

from "Autobiography of a Tomboy" by Jeannette Gilder

Richard served in the Civil War- the picture above was taken earlier, before his enlistment, when he was in a cadet group. His first major job was working for a paymaster on a railroad. The Gilders' were never well off, even when the family was intact.

The Gilders' father died in 1864. This scene is probably shortly after that. Richard is around 21, his sister 16.

"Now was the time for me to realize my ambition- to work for my living. I remember well the evening that I announced my decision to Dicksey, who had assumed a fatherly position in the family. He was digging in the garden, and I was hoeing by his side.
'Dicksey, ' said I, leaning on my hoe, 'I want to speak to you on a matter of great importance.' He stopped to listen, with one foot resting on his spade.
'Speak, and let the worst be known, speaking may relieve you!' he quoted jocosely.
'Dicksey, I have made up my mind to work-- to help support the family.'
'Oh no,' he answered, while an expression of pain crossed his brow. 'I can do it all well enough. I couldn't bear the thought of my sister going out into the world to work.'
'Even if you could do it all, I should want to do something; but that is impossible, we are too large a family. I'm going to do my share.'
'I wish you wouldn't talk that way.'
'I am determined to hoe my own row.'
'You are doing that now,' said he, smiling, and pointing to the implement upon which I was leaning.
'I'm serious; don't joke.'
'What do you propose doing?'
'The first thing I can get to do.'

I got a position in an office a few weeks later and began work."

from "Autobiography of a Tomboy" by Jeannette Gilder

The Pan-American Exposition

"When the people of two Americas visit the [Pan-Amrican] Exposition city just erected "by the great waters of the North," many will recognize the style of Richard Watson Gilder in the classic and poetic inscriptions which adorn its Propylaea, Stadium, bridges, palaces and temples. The Exposition was peculiarly fortunate in persuading the scholarly editor of The Century to put the finishing touch on the artistic masterpiece. Those who read the legends will feel that their author is a man who "has upheld the ideals of Liberty and Justice" and who throughout a laborious life now in its prime has been "faithful to the things that are eternal," one who "has never shunned the dust and sweat of the contest and on whose brow" already "falls the cool shade of the olive" and rests the wreath of the victor's laurel."



The New Day (1875)
The Poet and His Master and Other Poems (1878)
Lyrics and Other Poems (1885)
The Celestial Passion (1887)
Two Worlds and Other Poems (1891)
Five Books of Song (1894)
For the Country (1897)
In Palestine and Other Poems (1898)
Poems and Inscriptions (1901)
A Christmas Wreath (1903)
In the Heights (1905)
The Fire Divine (1907)
The Poems of Richard Watson Gilder (1908)



A Book of Music (1906)
Lincoln the Leader (1909)
Grover Cleveland: A Record of Friendship (1910)
Letters of Richard Watson Gilder (1916)



Richard Watson Gilder, Herbert F. Smith. (Ardent Media, 1970).
The Editorial Influence of Richard Watson Gilder, 1780-1909, Herbert F. Smith. (1961).
In Memory of Richard Watson Gilder. (1948)
Modern Poets and Christian Teaching: Richard Watson Gilder, Edwin Markham, Edward Rowland Sills, David G. Downey. (Eaton & Main, 1906).

During the winter of 1885-1886, Richard saw the casts in Wyatt Eaton's
studio and immediately grasped their significance. These were casts of Lincoln's face and hands done immediately after his death. Richard started a subscription drive to have copies sold and distributed so that the originals could be preserved and placed in a musuem home.