Longfellow, a hands-on father, was deeply involved in the lives of his children-Charles Appleton Longfellow (1844-1893), Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow (1845-1921), Alice Mary Longfellow (1850-1928), Edith Longfellow (1852-1915), and Anne Allegra Longfellow (1855-1934)-in practical ways but also emotionally. The death of his third child Fanny in 1848 left him "inappeasable."

Even for a time when fathers were becoming more actively involved in family matters, the extent of Longfellow's investment in his children's lives is striking. So is the sheer amount of time he spent with them. Many entries in his journals report on activities he pursued with them, from pushing them around in a wheelbarrow and rowing with them on Fresh Pond to taking them to Boston for dinners and theater performances. "It was always to my father that we went in our childish troubles," wrote Ernest Longfellow in his memoirs.

In this section

Photograph Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow. Bookcase. Drawing, 1861. Attributed to Southworth & Hawes]  The Longfellow family. Daguerreotype, 1849. Photograph
Photograph Longfellow's Children. Carte-de-visite, after the painting by Thomas Buchanan Read (1822-1872), undated. "The Children's Hour," from Poems from Birds of Passage. Autograph manuscript, [1859] Photograph
Photograph Charles Appleton Longfellow. Charley's Journal, 1850. HWL. Little Merrythought. An Autobiography with a Portrait. Autograph manuscript, ca. 1847. Photograph
Photograph HWL. "Erny's Wooden Cockerel" from Little Merrythought. Drawing, 1847.    Wooden cockerel. Photograph
Photograph Charles Appleton Longfellow and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [?] Rebus, undated. HWL.  "Mr. Peter Piper sees a whale," and "Mr. Peter Piper takes a ride on the whale," from Peter Piper.  Autograph manuscript,  ca. 1860. Photograph