Perry, Bliss (1860-1954)

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Bliss
Perry, son of Arthur Latham and Mary Brown (Smedley) Perry, was born November
25, 1860 in Williamstown.  He was
educated in Williamstown, first at the Greylock Institute and then at Williams College. 
He graduated from Williams in 1881 with a B.A. and in 1883 received an
M.A.  He received an L.H.D. from Williams College in 1902, and served as a
Williams trustee 1906-1934.

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Bliss
began his teaching career at Williams, serving as Professor of English and
Elocution from 1886 to1893.  Later he
moved to Princeton, where he served as the
Holmes Professor of English Literature 1893-1900.  From 1906 to 1930, he taught and served as
the chair of the English Literature department at Harvard.  He taught a wide range of
courses–18th-century English literature, comparative literature, political
satire, lyric poetry–but stated that his favorite course was the one he taught
on Emerson.

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In
1899, he became editor of The Atlantic
Monthly,
one of the most prestigious literary publications at the time.  His contributors included Henry James. Booker
T. Washington, Charles Eliot Norton, Edith Wharton, Sarah Orne Jewett, William
James, Woodrow Wilson, Havelock Ellis, Jack London, and others.  He served as editor until 1909.

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He
married Annie L. Bliss August 7,1888 and had two daughters, Mrs. Thomas
Woodward and Margaret S. Perry, and one son, Arthur B. Perry.  He lived the later years of his life at The
Exeter Inn in Exeter, New Hampshire, and died there on February
13, 1954.

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By Patrick J. McCurdy (Class of 2002)