Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Henry Reed


Henry Reed was born in Philadelphia in 1808, the son of Joseph Reed, Attorney-General of Pennsylvania. Reed graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and then studied law with his uncle, John Sergeant, a U.S. Congressman and constitutional lawyer. He was admitted to law practice in Philadelphia in 1829. Reed gave up the practice of law to undertake teaching and held his first faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, first in English literature and then in moral philosophy. In 1835 he became a professor of rhetoric and English literature, a position he held until his death in the sinking of the Arctic on which he was returning home from England in 1854. Reed's scholarly writing focused on the work of Henry Wordsworth, with whom he corresponded and provided legal advice. [Source: American Literary Critics and Scholars, 1800-1850, Dictionary of Literary Biography (1987)(Vol. 59)]

We have not determined, to date, that Henry Reed was himself a poet. We have included him in this collection of lawyer-poets because of his engagement with the work of William Wordsworth. [The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth (London: Macmillan, 1888)]


Henry Reed (ed.) The Complete Poetical Words of William Wordsworth (Boston: James Munroe, 1837)(Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1851)

_________ (ed.), Poems from the Poetical Works of William Wordsworth (New York: Geo. A. Leavitt, 1841)(Philadelphia: Hooker & Agnew, 1842)

_________ (ed.), Thomas Arnold, Introductory Lectures on Modern History (New York: D. Appleton, 1845)

_________ Life of Joseph Reed (Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown, 1846)(Little, Brown, 1848)

_________ (ed.), Poetical Works of Thomas Gray (Philadelphia: Henry Carey Baird, 1851) Philadelphia: J.B. Lippencott, 1876)(J.B. Lippincott, 1887)

_________ (ed.), Christopher Wordsworth, Memories of William Wordsworth, Poet-Laureate, D.C.L. (Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields, 1851)(2 vols.)

_________, Introduction to English Literature from Chaucer to Tennyson (London: John F. Shaw and Co., 1855)(John F. Shaw and Company, 1862)

_________, Two Lectures on the History of the American Union (Philadelphia: Parry & McMillan, 1856)

_________, Lectures on English History and Tragic Poetry, as Illustrated by Shakespeare (Philadelphia: Parry & McMillan, 1856)(William Bradford Reed ed.)(Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen, and Haffelfinger, 1869) [online text]

_________, Two Lectures on the History of the American Union (Philadelphia: Parry & McMillan, 1856)(Parry & McMillan, 1859)(William Bradford Reed ed.)

_________, Lectures on English Literature, from Chaucer to Tennyson (Philadelphia: Parry & McMillan, 1855)(London: J. F. Shaw, 1865)(William Bradford Reed ed.)(Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1867) [online text] (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 6th ed. 1878)

_________, Lectures on the British Poets (Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott & Co., (2 vols.) [vol. 1: online text] (London: J.F. Shaw, 1860)


Leslie Nathan Broughton (ed.), Wordsworth and Reed: The Poet's Correspondence with His American Editor: 1836-1850, and Henry Reed's Account of His Reception at Rydal Mount, London, and Elsewhere, in 1854 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1933)