Margaret Widdemer (September 30, 1884 – July 14, 1978) was a U.S. poet and novelist. She won the Pulitzer Prize (known then as the Columbia University Prize) in 1919 for her collection The Old Road to Paradise, shared with Carl Sandburg for Cornhuskers.[a]
Margaret Widdemer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Asbury Park, New Jersey, where her father, Howard T. Widdemer, was a minister of the First Congregational Church. She graduated from the Drexel Institute Library School in 1909. She first came to public attention with her poem The Factories, which treated the subject of child labor. In 1919, she married Robert Haven Schauffler (1879–1964), a widower five years her senior. Schauffler was an author and cellist who published widely on poetry, travel, culture, and music. His papers are held at the University of Texas at Austin.
The scholar Joan Shelley Rubin has surmised that Widdemer coined the term "middlebrow" in her essay "Message and Middlebrow," published in 1933 in The Saturday Review of Literature. However, the term had previously been used by the British magazine Punch in 1925.
^The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry was inaugurated in 1922 but the sponsoring organization now considers the first winners to be the three recipients of 1918 and 1919 awards "made possible by a special grant from The Poetry Society".