About James Whitcomb Riley

Works Online

The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley Volume I
Volume X


1849 Born

1865 Leaving school at age 16, Riley first attempted to read law in his father`s office

Approx 1870 He and some other youths, which he dubbed "the Graphics," traveled the Indiana countryside as sign, house and ornamental painters. He later joined a traveling wagon show as an advance agent.

1873 Riley returned to Greenfield and worked for the town`s newspaper.

1877 Riley joined the staff of the Anderson Democrat as associate editor

Approx 1877 Frustrated at his poems being rejected by eastern periodicals (Though he was able to publish throughout central Indiana), Riley embarked upon a scheme to prove that for a poem to become popular it had to be written by "a genius known to fame." He wrote a poem, Leonainie, styled after Edgar Allan Poe, and convinced the editor of the Kokomo Dispatch to print it in his newspaper as a long-lost Poe poem. Unmasked as the poem`s true author, Riley was lambasted by rival newspapers and eventually fired from his Anderson job.

Approx 1878 Under the name ‚??Benj. F. Johnson of Boone‚?Ě he began to write verse in the Hoosier dialect for the Indianapolis Journal

1883 The writings of Benj. F. Johnson, of Boone, The series, was published in book form and met with popular success

1890 Rhymes of Childhood

1905 Little Orphan Annie

1912 Knee Deep in June

07/22/1916 Upon his death on July 22, 1916, more than 35,000 people filed past his casket as it lay in state under the dome at the Indiana State Capitol.




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