Thomas Sergeant Perry

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Thomas Sergeant Perry
Lilla Cabot Perry, Thomas Sergeant Perry, 1889.jpg
Portrait by Lilla Cabot Perry, 1889
Born(1845-01-23)January 23, 1845
DiedMay 7, 1928(1928-05-07) (aged 83)
312 Marlborough Street Boston, Massachusetts
Lilla Cabot
(m. 1874;his death 1928)
Parent(s)Christopher Grant Perry
Frances Sergeant

Thomas Sergeant Perry (1845–1928) was an American editor, academic, literary critic, literary translator, and literary historian. He was a lifelong friend and associate of Henry James and a member of the faculty at Harvard University.

Henry James American writer and literary critic

Henry James was an American-British author regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism, and is considered by many to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. He was the son of Henry James Sr. and the brother of renowned philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James.

Harvard University Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.


Early life

Thomas Sergeant Perry was born on January 23, 1845 in Newport, Rhode Island. His parents were Christopher Grant Perry and Frances Sergeant Perry. His paternal grandparents were Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, brother of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, and Elizabeth Champlin Mason Perry. [1] [2] His maternal grandparents were Thomas Sergeant, a judge of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, and Sarah Bache Sergeant. His father's family line goes back to Edward Perry and Mary Freeman Perry who lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1635. On his mother's side, one of his ancestors is Benjamin Franklin; [1] Perry was his great-great-grandson. [2]

Newport, Rhode Island City in Rhode Island, United States

Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, located approximately 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Fall River, Massachusetts, 73 miles (117 km) south of Boston, and 180 miles (290 km) northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It was the location of the first U.S. Open tournaments in both tennis and golf, as well as every challenge to the America's Cup between 1930 and 1983. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. It was a major 18th-century port city and also contains a high number of buildings from the Colonial era.

Oliver Hazard Perry United States Naval Officer

Oliver Hazard Perry was an American naval commander, born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. He was the son of Sarah Wallace Alexander and United States Navy Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and the older brother of Commodore Matthew C. Perry.

Matthew C. Perry 19th-century American admiral

Matthew Calbraith Perry was a Commodore of the United States Navy who commanded ships in several wars, including the War of 1812 and the Mexican–American War (1846–48). He played a leading role in the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

He was a childhood friend of Henry James, with whom he attended Reverend W.C. Leverett's school in Newport, Rhode Island, [3] before the Civil War. [4] Perry met John La Farge, who later married his sister Margaret, through James. [2]

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy). The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

John La Farge American artist

John La Farge was an American painter, muralist, stained glass window maker, decorator, and writer.

Perry earned his Bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1866 and his Masters in 1869. He studied in Paris and Berlin between 1866 and 1868. [1]


Between 1868 and 1872, he was a tutor in German at Harvard. He was an English instructor in English for 1877 to 1881 and an English literature lecturer from 1881 to 82. In 1898, he became professor of English literature in the Keio University, in Tokyo, Japan. [1]

Keio University private university in Tokyo, Japan

Keio University, abbreviated as Keio (慶應) or Keidai (慶大), is a private university located in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It is known as the oldest institute of modern higher education in Japan. Founder Fukuzawa Yukichi originally established it as a school for Western studies in 1858 in Edo. It has eleven campuses in Tokyo and Kanagawa. It has ten faculties: Letters, Economics, Law, Business and Commerce, Medicine, Science and Technology, Policy Management, Environment and Information Studies, Nursing and Medical Care, and Pharmacy.

He was a prolific essayist, writing on a wide variety of authors, including Alfred de Musset, Arthur Hugh Clough, Berthold Auerbach, Fritz Reuter, George Sand, Ivan Turgenev, Mark Twain, Edward Fitzgerald, Sir Walter Scott, Victor Cherbuliez, Victor Hugo, William Blake, and William Dean Howells, for a variety of American literary publications, including North American Review and The Century . [5]

Alfred de Musset French writer

Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay was a French dramatist, poet, and novelist. Along with his poetry, he is known for writing the autobiographical novel La Confession d'un enfant du siècle.

Arthur Hugh Clough English poet

Arthur Hugh Clough was an English poet, an educationalist, and the devoted assistant to Florence Nightingale. He was the brother of suffragist Anne Clough and father to Blanche Athena Clough who both became principals of Newnham College, Cambridge.

Berthold Auerbach German author

Berthold Auerbach was a German-Jewish poet and author. He was the founder of the German "tendency novel", in which fiction is used as a means of influencing public opinion on social, political, moral, and religious questions.

Edwin Arlington Robinson dedicated his book of poetry, The Three Taverns, to Lilla and Thomas Perry. [6]

Personal life

On April 9, 1874, he married Lilla Cabot, an American painter who was an important figure in Impressionism in the United States. [7] [8] The couple had three daughters: [7] [9]

Thomas Sergeant Perry died on May 7, 1928 after having been sick with pneumonia. [10]


His published works include: [1]


He also made translations from French and German.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 John Howard Brown (1903). Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States: Newton-Sears. VI. James H. Lamb Company. p. 224.
  2. 1 2 3 James L. Yarnall; John La Farge (2012). John La Farge, a Biographical and Critical Study. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 50. ISBN   978-1-4094-1172-7.
  3. James Henry (2 January 2014). Henry James: A Life in Letters. Penguin Books Limited. p. PT37. ISBN   978-0-14-192213-3.
  4. Henry James; Leon Edel. Letters. Harvard University Press. p. 6. ISBN   978-0-674-38780-5.
  5. "Thomas Sergeant Perry (1845-1928)". American Literature sites, Washington State University. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  6. Edwin Arlington Robinson (1920). The Three Taverns: A Book of Poems. Macmillan. p. 11.
  7. 1 2 Carol Kort; Liz Sonneborn (January 1, 2002). A to Z of American Women in the Visual Arts. Infobase Publishing. p. 178. ISBN   978-1-4381-0791-2.
  8. American Women Artists 1830-1930. Washington, D.C.: The National Museum of Women in the Arts. 1987. p. 50. ISBN   0-940979-02-0.
  9. Meredith Martindale; Nancy Mowll Mathews; Pamela Moffat (1990). Lilla Cabot Perry: An American Impressionist. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of Women in the Arts. ISBN   978-0940979-14-7.
  10. Eric L. Haralson; Kendall Johnson (2009). Critical Companion to Henry James: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. Infobase Publishing. p. 429. ISBN   978-1-4381-1727-0.

Further reading