Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

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Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
Jessie B. Rittenhouse.jpg
Born(1869-12-08)December 8, 1869
Mount Morris, New York
DiedSeptember 28, 1948(1948-09-28) (aged 78)
Detroit, Michigan
EducationHon. Doctorate Rollins College
Alma materGenesee Wesleyan Seminary
OccupationLecturer, Literary Critic, Poet
Years active1894–1948
Known forAnthologies of Poetry
Spouse(s)Clinton Scollard
AwardsRobert Frost Medal (1930)

Jessie Belle Rittenhouse Scollard (1869–1948), daughter of John Edward and Mary (MacArthur) Rittenhouse,[1] was a literary critic, compiler of anthologies, and poet.


After graduating in 1890 from Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, New York, Rittenhouse taught school in Cairo, Illinois and Grand Haven, Michigan. Her literary career began with book reviews in Buffalo and Rochester, New York, and led to a year as a reporter for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in 1894. In 1899 she moved to Boston to begin her literary career in earnest. From 1905 to 1915 Rittenhouse lived in New York City, where she was poetry reviewer for the New York Times Review of Books.[2] From 1914 to 1924 she conducted lecture tours. In 1914 Rittenhouse helped to found the Poetry Society of America, of which she was secretary for 10 years.[3]

Rittenhouse married fellow poet Clinton Scollard in 1924.

In the course of her career, Rittenhouse corresponded with numerous contemporary poets, such as John Myers O'Hara,[4] Margaret Widdemer, and Arthur Guiterman. Her poems were set to music by many composers, including Samuel Barber, Noble Cain, Alice Reber Fish, Ethel Glenn Hier, Kirke Mechem, Frederick W. Vanderpool, Wintter Watts, and especially David Wendel Guion.[5]

Late in her career, Rittenhouse moved to Winter Park, Florida, and became associated with Rollins College, where she was a lecturer in poetry.[6]

The Poetry Society of America presented Rittenhouse the first Robert Frost Medal in 1930.



  • The Lover's Rubáiyát (1904)
  • Little Book of Modern Verse (1913)
  • Little Book of American Poets (1915)
  • Second Book of Modern Verse (1919)
  • Little Book of Modern British Verse (1924)
  • Third Book of Modern Verse (1927)
  • The Singing Heart (1934) (Selected verses by Clinton Scollard)


  • The Door of Dreams (1918)
  • The Lifted Cup (1921)
  • The Secret Bird (1930)
  • Moving Tide: New and Selected Lyrics (1939)

Edited with Clinton Scollard[edit]

  • The Bird-Lovers Anthology (1930)
  • Patrician Rhymes (1932)


  • My House of Life (1934)


  1. ^ Moyer, Homer Edward (1935). Who's who and what to see in Florida: a standard biographical reference book of Florida. St. Petersburg, Florida: Current Historical Company of Florida. p. 379.
  2. ^ See, e.g. Rittenhouse, Jessie B. (1905-12-23). "Bliss Carman's Prose" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 19 Dec 2010. This publication is described in a Wikipedia article under the name The New York Times Book Review
  3. ^ McHenry, Robert (1983). Famous American women: a biographical dictionary from colonial times to the present. Courier Dover Publications. p. 482. ISBN 0-486-24523-3.
  4. ^ "Inventory of the John Myers O'Hara Papers, 1908-1942". The Newberry Library. 2000. Archived from the original on 17 February 2005. Retrieved 19 Dec 2010.
  5. ^ "David Wendell Guion: An Inventory of His Collection in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center". Harry Ransom Center. University of Texas at Austin. 2003. Retrieved 19 Dec 2010.
  6. ^ "Memorial Services for Jessie Rittenhouse Scollard Saturday" (PDF). Winter Park Topics. Winter Park, Florida: Charles F. Hammond. 16 (2): 8. 14 Jan 1949. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 19 Dec 2010.

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