Craigie House was at the center of an extraordinary nexus of relationships, the hub of a social life that, in the middle of what was then still little more than a village, spanned different cultures, national traditions, and continents. Longfellow not only maintained an enormous correspondence, he also regularly had friends visit him for dinner, supper, and overnight stays.

Longfellow's deep commitment to friendship is far more than an incidental biographical fact. Understanding how relationships fostered and shaped his writing and the writing of others in his circle helps us depart from the persistent focus in literary history on the solitary writer's "individual talent" (T. S. Eliot).

In this section

Photograph Alexander Gardner, photographer. The Politics and Poetry of New England. Carte-de-visite, [1863] HWL. Journal entry for 4 November 1849. Photograph
Photograph HWL. Letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, 19 March 1843. HWL.  "Hawthorne," in Flower-de-luce (Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1866) Photograph
Photograph HWL. "The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz." Autograph manuscript, 1857. Louis Agassiz. Letter to HWL, 18 August 1871. Photograph
Photograph HWL.  "Prescrizione Nuova per il mal di gola." Autograph manuscript, 13 January 1866. Annie Fields on the piazza of her house in Manchester-by-the Sea. Photograph
Photograph HWL. Address book, 1873, pages 220-21.