Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Theodore Winthrop

Connecticut & New York

Library of Congress

Theodore Winthrop was born in New Haven, Connecticut on September, 23, 1828. He entered Yale College at the age of sixteen. He graduated in 1848, at the age of twenty but he was in ill-health, and remainded so the rest of his life.

After graduation from college he went to England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece. In Italy he meet W.H. Aspinwall, of New New York, and when he returned to the United States he became turor to Aspinwall's son. Wintrop accompanied the Aspinwall boy and a nephew of Mr. Aspinwall to their school in Switzerland, where he stayed with them for six months. When he returned, he was employed by Aspinwall at his company, but then took up employment with the Pacific Steamship Company taking up residence in Panama for two years. Again, he traveled, this time to Vancouver, Puget Sound, Oregon, and California. During his travels he was infected with smallpox and was ill for some six weeks. Winthrop again joined the Aspinwall company but set out on an expedition that did not bring him home until 1854.

In 1855, Winthrop studied law and admitted to the bar. He was involved in politics, and in 1857 moved to St. Louis to practice law. He abandoned St. Louis after a short stay and took up law practice in New York. "But he could not be a lawyer. His health was too uncertain, and his tastes and ambition allured him elsewhere. . . . His fancy was alert and inventive, and he wrote tales and novels. At the same time he delighted to haunt the studio of his friend Church, the painter, and watch day by day the progress of his picture, the Heart of the Andes." [George William Curtis, "Biographical Sketch of the Author," in Theodore Wintrhrop, Cecil Dreeme 10 (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1861)][This biographical sketch of Winthrop is drawn from the Curtis biography.]

"He had always been writing. In college and upon his stravels he kept diaries; and he has left behind him several novels, tales, sketches of travel, and journals. The first published writing of his which is well known is his description, in the June (1861) number of the Atlantic Monthly Magazine, of the March of the Seventh Regiment of New York to Washington." [Id. at 10-11]

With the caputre of Fort Sumter, and President Lincoln's proclaimation, Winthrop enrolled in the artillery corps of the Seventh Regiment of the New York State Militia. The regiment marched to war on April 19, 1861. Winthrop, with the Seventh Regiment was posted at Fortress Monroe where he served Major General Benjamin Butler as aide-de-camp. Winthrop was killed in battle at Great Bethel, on June 10th, reputedly, the first Union officer killed in the Civil War.

Theodore Winthrop

Theodore Winthrop
New York University Libraries

Theodore Winthrop
The Vault at Pfaffs: An Archive of Art and Literature by New York City's
Nineteenth-Century Bohemians

Theodore Wintrhrop
The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

"Our March to Washington"
Brander Matthews (ed.), The Oxford Book of American Essays (1914)


Laura Winthrop Johnson (ed.), The Life and Poems of Theodore Winthrop (New York: H. Holt and Company, 1884) [online text]


Theodore Winthrop, A Companion to the Heart of the Andes (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1859)(New York: Olana Gallery, 1977)

_______________, Cecil Dreeme (New York: Dood, Mead, 1861)(New York: John W. Lovell Co., 1862)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1862)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865)(Boston: J.R. Osgood and Co., 1871) [online text] (Boston: J.R. Osgood, 1875)(New York: H. Holt and Company, 1876)(Edinburgh: W. Patterson, 1883)(New York: Dodd, 1898)

_______________, John Brent (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1861)(New York: John W. Lovell, 1862)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1862)(New York: United States Book Co., 1862)(New York: H. Holt and Co., 1862)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866)(New York: H. Holt and Company, 1876)(New York: H.Holt and Co., 1883) [online text] (Edinburg: William Paterson, 1883)(New Haven, Connecticut: College & University Press, 1970)

_______________, New York Seventh Regiment: Our March to Washington (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1861)

_______________, Washington as a Camp (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1861)

_______________, Life in the Open Air: And Other Papers (New York: John W. Lovell, 1862)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863) [online text] (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866)(Boston: James R. Osgood, 1871)(Boston: J.R. Osgood, 1873)(New York: H. Holt and Co., 1876)

_______________, Edwin Brothertoft (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1862)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 7th ed., 1864) [online text] (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866)(Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1868)(Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1871)(Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1875)(New York: H. Holt, 1876)(Edinburgh: William Paterson, 1883)

_______________, The Canoe and the Saddle: Adventures Among the Northwestern Rivers and Forests, and Isthmiana (New York: American Publishers, 1862)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863) [online text] (Boston, Ticknor and Fields, 1864)(Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866)(Boston: J.R. Osgood, 1871)(Boston: J.R. Osgood and Co., 1873)(Edinburgh: William Patterson, 1883)(New York: United States Book Co., 1890)

[The Canoe and the Saddle: A Critical Edition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006)]

_______________, Love and Skates (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902)

_______________, Mr. Waddy's Return (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1904)(Burton E. Stevenson ed.) [online text]

_______________, The Canoe and the Saddle; or, Klalam and Klickatat (Tacoma: J.H. Williams, 1913)


Ellsworth Eliot, Theodore Winthrop (New Haven: Yale University Library, 1938)

Eldridge Colby, Theodore Winthrop (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1965)

Eugene T. Woolf, Theodore Winthrop: Portrait of an American Author (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1981)

Research Resources

Theodore Winthrop Papers
Clifton Waller Barrett Library
University of Virginia Library
Charlottesville, Virginia

New York Public Library
New York City