Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Father's Day -- how one Dad felt about his daughters

"The Children's Hour" is a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It first published in the September, 1860, issue of The Atlantic Monthly. The poet describes his three daughters, "grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, and Edith with the golden hair." This group portrait of the girls was widely reproduced and distributed with the poem. How beloved were the ideas in this poem? A copy was found near the body of a Union soldier who died at the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863. No doubt he was a dad with daughters waiting at home, as he went into his final battle.

In the early 20th century, "The Children's Hour" was one of the poems most frequently taught in American schools. In 1924, it was taught to children in grades 3 to 6. Of all Longfellow's poems, none is so personal and touching as this affectionate letter to his daughters. If you ever loved a daughter, this poem will make sense to you. To hear it, visit

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