Scofield Thayer

Scofield Thayer (12 December 18891982) was an American poet and publisher, best known as the publisher of the literary magazine The Dial during the 1920s.

Scofield Thayer was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on 12 December 1889 to Edward D. Thayer and Florence Scofield Thayer. The Thayers were a prominent and wealthy Massachusetts family. Scofield's father was the owner of several area wool mills, a founding investor in the Crompton & Thayer Loom Company, and a director of the Worcester Trust Company. Scofield's uncle Ernest Thayer was the author of the well-known poem "Casey at the Bat".

Thayer entered Harvard University in 1913. His Harvard years would prove formative; during them Thayer would hone his poetic voice, and serve on the staff of the Harvard Monthly. During these years Thayer would also meet many other young poets and authors, including E. E. Cummings, Alan Seeger, Lincoln MacVeagh, and Gilbert Seldes. A large dormitory for freshmen at Harvard, in which E. E. Cummings once roomed (room 306), is named after the Thayer family. After Harvard, he went to Oxford at the same time as T. S. Eliot.[1]

Thayer married Elaine Orr on 21 June 1916. He commissioned his friend E. E. Cummings to write his poem "Epithalamion" as a wedding present. The marriage did not last long, however, as by 1919 Elaine was having an affair with Cummings, even giving birth to a daughter, Nancy, by Cummings in December of that year.

Thayer's involvement with The Dial began in April 1918 when he purchased $600 USD worth of stock in the magazine. In late 1919, Thayer and his friend James Sibley Watson, Jr. purchased The Dial from the owner, Martyn Johnson, who was experiencing financial trouble. Sibley became the magazine's president whilst Thayer took up the post of editor. The Sibley/Thayer-produced Dial released its first issue in January 1920. The issue featured works from Thayer's friend E. E. Cummings, Gaston Lachaise, Carl Sandburg, and others.

In July 1921, Thayer sailed for Europe. He settled in Vienna, and, although he would remain there for more than two years, he would continue to direct the operations of The Dial, soliciting financial backing from European investors and sending layout and content instructions back to the magazine's offices in New York regularly.

During the late 1920s Thayer began to experience a series of mental breakdowns, and began to deteriorate. He resigned as editor of The Dial in June 1926, and spent the remainder of his life in the care of relatives and various institutions and sanatoria. Without Thayer's financial backing, The Dial went bankrupt and published its final issue in July 1929.

References

  • Richardson, John Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters Random House, 2001. ISBN 0-679-42490-3.

Notes

  1. ^  Richardson, op. cit. page 20.
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"E Pluribus Unum"   ("From Many, One"; Latin, traditional)
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A poet is a person who writes poetry. This is usually influenced by a cultural and intellectual tradition. Some consider the best poetry to be, to some extent, and universal, and to address issues common to all humanity; others are more absorbed by its particular, personal and
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Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information – the activity of making information available for public view. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers.
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The Dial was an American magazine published intermittently from 1840 to 1929. In its first form, from 1840 to 1844, it served as the chief publication of the Transcendentalists. In the 1880s it was revived as a political magazine.
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Worcester, Massachusetts
Downtown Worcester, with City Hall at the right

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Ernest Lawrence Thayer (August 14, 1863 - August 21, 1940) was an American writer and poet who wrote "Casey at the Bat".

Thayer was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and raised in Worcester.
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"Casey at the Bat", subtitled "A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888", is a baseball poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer. First published in the San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, it was later popularized by DeWolf Hopper in many vaudeville performances.
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Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League.
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Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), popularly known as E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, and playwright.
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Alan Seeger (June 22, 1888 – July 4, 1916) was an American poet.

Born in New York, Seeger moved with his family to Staten Island at the age of one and remained there until the age of ten.
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Lincoln MacVeagh (1890–1972) was a distinguished United States soldier, diplomat, businessman, and archaeologist. He served a long career as the United States ambassador to several countries during difficult times.
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Gilbert Vivian Seldes (January 3, 1893 – September 29, 1970) was an American writer and cultural critic. He was editor and drama critic of The Dial. He is most famous for his 1924 book, The Seven Lively Arts.
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Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), popularly known as E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, and playwright.
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University of Oxford (usually abbreviated as Oxon. for post-nominals, from "Oxoniensis"), located in the city of Oxford, England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
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Thomas Stearns Eliot

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Died: January 4 1965 (age 76)
London, England
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Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), popularly known as E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, and playwright.
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James Sibley Watson, Jr. (August 10, 1894 - March 31, 1982)

Born in New York, Watson was a Rochester, NY philanthropist, publisher, and early experimenter in motion pictures.
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