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Eugene Field - Biography & Selected Products

Eugene Field was born in St Louis Missouri on September 2, 1850. At age 6 Eugene’s mother died and he was raised by his cousin Mary field French in Amherst, Massachusetts.  His Father continued to practice law – famously pleading the case of Dred Scott, the slave who sued for his freedom. Eugene attended Williams College in Williamstown but dropped out a few months after the death of his father when he was 19. He tied again at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, but again dropped out this time after a year.  He tried again at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, where his brother Roswell was also attending. He tried acting, studied law with little success, and wrote for the student newspaper. Realising this was not to be for him he embarked on a six month trip to Europe but returned home penniless. In 1875 he set to work as a journalist for the St. Joseph Gazette in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Later that year he married Julia Comstock, with whom he went on to have eight children.  All his income henceforth was to be sent to his wife as he believed he had no head for money himself.  Career wise Eugene became the city editor of the Gazette.  His light, humorous articles written in a gossipy style, began to be syndicated.  As life improved he began to write the poems for which he is so well known starting with "Lovers Lane".

From 1876 through 1880 Field lived in St. Louis, first as writer for the Morning Journal and then the Times-Journal. After a short interlude as managing editor of the Kansas City Times, he did two years as editor of the Denver Tribune.

Eugene started to publish his poems in 1879, when his poem "Christmas Treasures" appeared in A Little Book of Western Verse. Over the years twelve volumes of poetry followed and he became well known for his light-hearted poems for children.  Success after such a multi faceted start must indeed have been gratifying.  He also published a number of well regarded short stories

By 1883 Eugene had moved to Chicago to write a humorous column called Sharps and Flats for the morning edition of the Chicago Daily News. A favoured subject was the intellectual greatness of Chicago, especially compared to Boston.

Eugene Field died in Chicago of a heart attack at the tragically early age of 45 on November 4th 1895. He is buried at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth, Illinois.