Born in Wabash District, Indiana, November 10, 1841; died at
"The Heights," above San Francisco, California, 1913.
The picturesque career of Joaquin Miller surpasses any romance
that came from his hand. When a lad he tramped from his home
in Oregon to the Sacramento Valley where gold fields were being
opened and did whatever he could turn his hand to about the camps.
He lived familiarly with the Indians and passed through many
adventures in returning to his home in Oregon. Here he studied
law, which he practiced for some time in Canyon City, and became
a judge of Grant County. In 1870 he went to London with the manuscript
of "Songs of the Sierras." Here he met Browning,
Arnold, and other poets
of the period and created a sensation in conventional London
by his romantic personality. After his return to America he spent
some time in journalistic work in Washington, D.C., but left
it for California where he established himself in a beautiful
home on "The Heights" above the Golden Gate. Save for
occasional excursions, such as his trip to the Klondike, his
remaining years were spent at this home. Joaquin Miller had great
power to invoke the wild and majestic aspects of nature, and
while he was often the victim of his facility, at his best he
was a poet of rare gifts and unexcelled in his field as the interpreter
of Wester life and landscape.
This biographical note is reprinted
from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.