Margaret Widdemer

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Margaret Widdemer (September 30, 1884 – July 14, 1978) was an American 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.[1][2][a]

Margaret Widdemer , was an American poet and novelist.


Margaret Widdemer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania,[3] 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.[4] 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.

Widdemer's memoir Golden Years I Had recounts her friendships with eminent authors such as Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T. S. Eliot, Thornton Wilder, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

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.[5] However, the term had previously been used by the British magazine Punch in 1925.[6]

Widdemer died in New York City, in 1978.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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".[1]


  1. ^ a b "Poetry". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
  2. ^ Fischer, Heinz Dietrich (2009). Chronicle of the Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. p. 484. ISBN 9783110230079.
  3. ^ Fraser, C. Gerald (July 15, 1978). "Miss Widdemer, 93, Poet, Author, Dies". The New York Times. p. 20.
  4. ^ Untermeyer, Louis (1921). Modern American Poetry, p. 350. Harcourt, Brace and Company. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  5. ^ Madigan, Mark J. "Willa Cather and the Book-of-the-Month Club." In Reynolds, Guy, ed. (2007). Cather Studies: Willa Cather As Cultural Icon, p. 81. University of Nebraska Press. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  6. ^ "Middlebrow". Oxford English Dictionary. 23 February 2008.

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