Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931) began life as a sickly child, whose parents were
determined that he become a doctor. Although he was much more attracted to art
and poetry, he dutifully entered the medical program at Hiram College, only
to pull out and embark on the life of a young "ne'er do well". In addition to
his three walking trips across the United States, in the name of preaching the
gospel of truth and beauty, Lindsay spent his young adult years courting numerous
women (whom he called "inspiration girls") and writing poetry, which he frequently
tried to offer up on the street. Lindsay's contemporaries became familiar with
his poetry largely from his spirited public performances, by which he earned
his living. He married late in life, but amid mounting problems with his marriage
and his finances, Lindsay died (some sources contest that he committed suicide)
in 1931. Some of his works include Rhymes to be Traded for Bread (1912), General
William Booth Enters Into Heaven and Other Poems (1913), and The Chinese Nightingale
and Other Poems (1917).
The Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, Papers, consists of 22 envelopes containing pictures of paintings, sculpture and other works of art, assembled by Lindsay for the daughter of M. L. Bates, President of Hiram College. The envelopes have annotations by Lindsay and some of the pictures are signed C. F. Lindsay, Esther Catherine Frazee Lindsay, his mother.
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