Ralph Waldo Emerson, known by his middle name Waldo, was an American philosopher, poet, essayist, abolitionist, and lecturer. He helped lead the transcendentalist movement in the mid-19th century. His ideas on a higher power, human potential, and the nature of reality shaped the world we live in today.
Emerson was also a prolific writer, publishing a number of books. In 1837, he delivered the famous Pi Beta Kappa address at Harvard, which established him as one of America’s leading intellectuals. The following year, he addressed the graduating class of Harvard Divinity School. This speech shocked conservative Unitarians, who condemned it as the latest act of infidelity.
Emerson was also an important figure in the New England Transcendentalism movement. His most famous works are his essays, “The American Scholar”, and “An Essay on Nature.” His work explores the nature of individuality and divinity. He was born on May 25, 1803 and lived in a house built to honor him in 1828.
In his later life, Emerson suffered from a declining memory. His public appearances diminished. After his death, he was buried in Concord, Mass.