George Henry Boker

1823–1890
George Henry Boker was born in Philidelphia in 1823, the son of a well-off banker. Boker attended Princeton, where he garnered a reputation as a talented young poet, and eventually abandoned law for literature. A poet, playwright, and diplomat, Boker helped found the Union Club (now the Union League of Philadelphia) in 1862 as part of an effort to raise funds for the Civil War and encourage enlistment. After the war, Boker acted as ministers to both Turkey (1871-1875) and Russia (1875-1879).
 
Boker’s collections of poems include Poems of the War (1864), Konigsmark (1869), and The Book of the Dead (1882). His historical dramas and verse-plays include Calynos (1848), Leonore de Guzman (1853), and Francesca da Rimini (1855), generally considered his best work. Though little read now, Boker was a well-known playwright during the mid-nineteenth century, and his plays were staged in London, New York, and Philadelphia.
 
After his time in Russia, Boker returned to Philadelphia, where he lived until his death in 1890.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

LIFE SPAN 1823–1890

Biography

George Henry Boker was born in Philidelphia in 1823, the son of a well-off banker. Boker attended Princeton, where he garnered a reputation as a talented young poet, and eventually abandoned law for literature. A poet, playwright, and diplomat, Boker helped found the Union Club (now the Union League of Philadelphia) in 1862 as part of an effort to raise funds for the Civil War and encourage enlistment. After the war, Boker acted . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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