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Smith, Logan Pearsall, 1865-1946

  • LCNAF n 50013294
  • Person
  • 1865-1946

Logan Pearsall Smith was born October 18, 1865 in Millville, New Jersey. His parents, Robert Pearsall Smith (1827-1898) and Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), were prominent Quaker evangelists. He had two sisters: Alys Pearsall Smith, suffrage activist and first wife of philosopher Bertrand Russell, and art historian Mary Berenson. Smith attended the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Haverford College, Harvard College, and the University of Berlin, before graduating from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1891. Smith remained in England after graduating, and became a British subject in 1913. For most of his life he resided in Chelsea, sharing a home with his mother and his sister Alys. While popular in British literary and social circles, Smith never married. He died in London on March 2, 1946, at the age of 80 years old.

A "man of letters," Smith published his first book, "The Youth of Parnassus and Other Stories" in 1895. He followed this work with three issues of a review entitled "The Golden Urn," printed in 1897 and 1898. His first book of aphorisms, "Trivia," was privately printed in 1902, and republished in 1918. Subsequent volumes of "More Trivia" and "Afterthoughts" were published in 1921 and 1931, respectively. Other works by Smith include "The Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton" (1907), "The English Language" (1912), "Words and Idioms" (1925), "The Prospects of Literature" (1927), "On Reading Shakespeare" (1933), "Reperusals and Re-Collections" (1936), the autobiographical "Unforgotten Years" (1938), "Milton and His Critics" (1940), and "A Religious Rebel" (published posthumously, 1949), an edited volume of his mother's letters. Smith also edited several anthologies. In 1919, Smith founded the Society for Pure English with poet Robert Bridges, and penned several tracts for that group.

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