Help us out with this monumental question — who would you put on a Mount Rushmore for Boston?
Last month, we asked you to submit recommendations for a variety of categories. We chiseled down the results and gathered the top names you all submitted for our first edition of the series: The literary category.
Edgar Allan Poe | Baltimore may think it has claim over Poe, but real ones know that it was Boston where the macabre writer was born and published his first poems. Now, locals are familiar with Edgar Allan Poe Square, an area of town dedicated to the poet near where his first home once stood.
Louisa May Alcott | Perhaps most well-known for her autobiographical book “Little Women,” Alcott spent much of her life in Boston before dying here in 1888. Bostonians can still visit Orchard House, where Alcott lived for many years.
Nathaniel Hawthorne | Born in Salem and buried in Concord, the history of Hawthorne’s birthplace is widely considered inspiration for famous works like “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Scarlet Letter.” It was Boston, however, where Hawthorne spent his days writing to his then-secret fiancée Sophia Peabody.
Phillis Wheatley | A West African native who was enslaved as a child, Phillis Wheatley grew up in Boston under very different circumstances than other writers on this list. Nevertheless, Wheatley became one of the best American poets of her time. Her first published poem, “On Messrs. Hussey and Coffin,” was written at the age of 13.
Ralph Waldo Emerson | Known as one of the most popular New England Transcendentalist writers, Emerson was born in Boston, attended Harvard College, and spent his later life in nearby Concord. Some of his most popular work includes “Essays” and “Essays: Second Series.” Of course, we’re partial to “Boston.”
Robert Frost | Frost may have taken the road less traveled, but his former Boston residence is actually located on a road that’s pretty popular these days. For three years, Frost inhabited 88 Mt. Vernon St. in Beacon Hill, where he lived while briefly teaching poetry at Harvard. Looking for a hefty collection of poems? Try “North of Boston.”