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Adams Sherman Hill

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Published : 1 Article
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Date of Birth : N/A
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Journalist, university professor. Born in Boston, Massachussetts. B.A. Harvard, 1853; LL.B. 1855. Admitted to New York bar, 1855. From 1856 to 1870 (except for extended stays in Europe for sake of his health) was law reporter, editorial writer, and correspondent for N.Y. Tribune, N.Y. Evening Post, Chicago Tribune. Assistant professor of rhetoric, Harvard, 1872-1876; Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, 1876-1904. Hon. LL.D. Harvard, 1903. Contributed to Atlantic Monthly, Putnam's Monthly Magazine, North American Review, Harper's, Scribner's, and other periodicals. Author of Our English, 1889, and of textbooks on rhetoric and composition that went through numerous editions.


The Report of the Harvard Class of 1853 (ed. Rantoul), referring to Hill's periodical writing during 1856-1858, states that one of his articles, sent to ‘AIl the Year Round' then edited by Dickens, brought [HilI] an autograph letter, expressive of approbation, from the illustrious novelist" (A.Y.R. should of course read H.W.). Dickens's approbation of Hill's article, which records a trip from St. Louis to St. Paul, is understandable. The proper Bostonian—quite in the spirit of American Notesfinds Westerners a crude people, unschooled in "the fine arts of civilisation", unpolished in manners, "picking their teeth with their forks", "squirting tobacco-juice"and bolting their food, while he consumes his in leisurely manner "as I was brought up to do". He concedes, however, that it is unreasonable as yet to expect "parlour graces" from Westerners, and assures his readers that sooner or later lithe noble elements of the Western character will unfold themselves ... All Americans have faith in the West. Give it time".

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971.

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