Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881. | Tulane University Special Collections
Name: Lanier, Sidney, 1842-1881.
Historical Note: Sidney Lanier was a noted Southern poet and composer, born in Macon, Georgia, on Feb. 3, 1842. He graduated from Oglethorpe University and voluntarily fought for the Confederacy as a member of the 2nd Battalion Infantry (Georgia), and the Signal Corps. It is likely that Lanier contracted tuberculosis during his stay at at Union prison camp, and the complications from that disease would affect Lanier his entire life. After the war, Lanier worked as a tutor and headmaster at an academy in Alabama before returning home to Macon in 1867 and marrying Mary Day. He worked at his father's law firm and wrote poetry concerning conditions during Reconstruction. In 1873, Lanier moved to Baltimore to accept a position as lead flutist in the Peabody Orchestra. In Baltimore, he wrote poetry and musical works, and lectured in literature at Johns Hopkins University. Near the end of his life, he moved to the mountains of North Carolina near Lynn. He died at the age of 39 on Sept. 7, 1881. After her husband's death, Mary Day Lanier compiled, edited, and published collections of Sidney Lanier's lectures, poems, and letters. Clare deGraffenreid knew Sidney Lanier primarily through his wife. But, as the letters in this collection show, Sidney Lanier and Clare deGraffenreid shared a close relationship that lasted until Lanier's death. Clare deGraffenreid, 1849-1921, lived in Macon until 1875, when she moved to Washington, D.C., to teach at Georgetown Seminary for Young Ladies. She later worked in the U.S. patent office and the Dept. of Labor.
Sources: Manuscripts Collection 116
Note Author: sp