Ridgely Torrence

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Ridgely Torrence.

Frederic Ridgely Torrence (Nov. 27, 1874 Xenia, Ohio - Dec. 25, 1950 New York City) was an American poet, and editor.


Torrence was the son of Findley David Torrence and Mary Ridgely Torrence. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Princeton University.

In the late 1890s he settled in Greenwich Village, in New York City, working as a librarian and becoming part of a circle of poets that included E. A. Robinson, William Vaughn Moody, and Robert Frost.[1] Edmund Clarence Stedman helped him revise The House of a Hundred Lights.

He was the fiction editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, from 1905 to 1907.[2]

The verse plays, showing the influence of John Millington Synge,[3] showed realistic portrayals of African Americans, and a revolt against their station in society.[4]

In 1914, he married author Olivia Howard Dunbar.[5]

Torrence's collection of plays, Three Plays for a Negro Theater premiered in 1917, as a production of the Negro Players.[6]

He was poetry editor of The New Republic (1920–33), mentoring Louise Bogan.[7] He organized the National Survey of the Negro Theater (1939), for the Rockefeller Foundation.[8]

His papers are held at Princeton.[9]




  • The House of a Hundred Lights. Small, Maynard. 1900. 
  • Hesperides. The Macmillan Company. 1925. 
  • Poems. Macmillan. 1941. 




  • The story of John Hope. Macmillan Co. 1948. 
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson (1940). Ridgely Torrence, ed. Selected letters of Edwin Arlington Robinson. The Macmillan company. 


  1. ^ Jay Parini (2000). Robert Frost: A Life. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-8050-6341-7. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Leslie Catherine Sanders (1989). The Development of Black Theater in America: From Shadows to Selves. LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-1582-4. 
  4. ^ Eric L. Haralson, John Hollander, eds. (1998). "Frederick Ridgely Torrence". Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-57958-008-7. 
  5. ^ "The Shell of Sense". storyoftheweek.loa.org. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 
  6. ^ Krassner, David (2002). A Beautiful Pageant: African American Theatre, Drama, and Performance in the Harlem Renaissance, 1910-1927. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780312295905. 
  7. ^ Elizabeth Frank (1986). Louise Bogan: A Portrait. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-06315-9. 
  8. ^ Ian Hamilton, ed. (1994). The Oxford companion to twentieth-century poetry in English. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866147-4. 
  9. ^ [2][dead link]

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