Top American Essayists Emerson

ADAMS, HENRY (1838-1918). Essayist and autobiographer, author of The Education of Henry Adams, scion of the famous Adams family.

ALCOTT, LOUISA MAY (1832-1888). Woman novelist and story writer, author of Little Women and many sensationalist-type novels written for money.

BRYANT, WILLIAM CULLEN (1794-1878). New England-born nature poet, author of the poems "Thanatopsis" and "To a Water-fowl," and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.

CHESNUTT, CHARLES WADDELL (1858-1932). African American novelist and story writer.

CHILD, LYDIA MARIA (1802-1880). Ardent abolitionist and early feminist, she was a successful author of fiction, non-fiction, and children's books throughout her life.

CHOPIN, KATE (1850-1904). American woman novelist and story writer, author of The Awakening; associated with local color writing, New Orleans, and stories about women's lives.

COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE (1789-1851). Prolific and popular American novelist, author of the Leatherstocking Tales.

CRANE, STEPHEN (1871-1900). American author of realistic novels and stories, best known for the Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage.

DANA, RICHARD HENRY (1815-1882). Harvard student who wrote about his experiences as a common seaman in the popular and influential Two Years Before the Mast (1840).

DICKINSON, EMILY (1830-1886). A towering figure in American poetry, a woman who lived quietly all her life in Amherst, Mass.

DOUGLASS, FREDERICK (1818-1895). An African American born a slave, a writer, journalist, autobiographer, race leader, abolitionist. Author of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

DUNBAR, PAUL LAURENCE (1872-1906). Nineteenth-century African American poet, considered the first important Black poet in America.

EMERSON, RALPH WALDO (1803-1882). Major American essayist, speaker, and poet. Unitarian and transcendentalist, associated with Boston.

FIRESIDE POETS. A group of popular American poets associated with 19th-century New England and the Boston publisher Ticknor & Fields: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, William Cullen Bryant.

FULLER, MARGARET (1810-1850). Woman writer and intellectual from New England, friend of Emerson, early feminist, author of Woman in the Nineteenth Century.

GILMAN, CHARLOTTE PERKINS (1860-1935). American woman feminist and novelist, author of The Yellow Wallpaper.

HARRIS, JOEL CHANDLER (1848-1908). White southern journalist who created folk tales about African American slaves in the pre-Civil War south, author of the Uncle Remus tales.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel (1804-1864). Great American novelist and story writer, associated with New England, America's Puritan heritage, author of The Scarlet Letter.

HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL, SR. (1809-1894). Poet, essayist, physician, educator, and dean of the Harvard Medical School. Author of the prose series "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" and the poems "Old Ironsides" and "The Chambered Nautilus." Also known as Dr. Holmes, because he was an M.D.; not to be confused with his oldest son, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935), who became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

HOWELLS, WILLIAM DEAN (1837-1920). American novelist and influential critic of wide-ranging taste, editor of the Atlantic Monthly 1871-1881.

IRVING, WASHINGTON (1783-1859). Early professional writer in America, associated with New York, author of Rip Van Winkle.

JAMES, HENRY (1843-1916). Major late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century novelist and story writer, American-born, who lived and wrote primarily in England, "the writer's writer."

JEWETT, SARAH ORNE (1849-1909). American woman novelist and short story writer from Maine.

JOHNSON, JAMES WELDON (1871-1938). African American poet and writer, author of The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.

LONDON, JACK (1876-1916). Author of adventure novels, best known for The Call of the Wild, associated with San Francisco.

LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH (1807-1882). American poet who lived in Cambridge, Mass., author of the long poems Evangeline, about two lovers who were parted when the British drove the French from Nova Scotia, and Hiawatha, about Native American life; also the often-memorized "Paul Revere's Ride." In the nineteenth century he was the most famous and financially successful poet of his day.

LOWELL, JAMES RUSSELL (1819-1891). Born in Cambridge, Mass. Poet, critic, satirist, essayist, diplomat, journalist, and abolitionist, editor of the Pioneer and first editor of the Atlantic Monthly, author of the political verse-satire The Biglow Papers (1848). He was the first cousin of poet Amy Lowell and great-grand-uncle of poet Robert Lowell.

MELVILLE, HERMAN (1819-1891). Important American novelist and short story writer, author of Moby-Dick.

POE, EDGAR ALLAN (1809-1849). Major American poet and writer of sensational and detective stories, associated with Baltimore, Maryland.

SINCLAIR, UPTON (1878-1968). American novelist and social critic, author of the famous book about the meatpacking industry, The Jungle.

STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER (1811-1896). American novelist, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, associated with abolitionism and the Beecher family.

THOREAU, HENRY DAVID (1817-1862). Beloved American naturalist and writer, associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson, civil disobedience, author of Walden.

TWAIN, MARK (1835-1910). Revered American novelist and story writer, author of Huckleberry Finn.

WHEATLEY, PHILLIS. (1753-1784). Eighteenth-century American poet. Born in Africa and brought to Boston as a slave, she was the first black American to publish a book. Later freed, she became internationally famous.

WHITMAN, WALT (1819-1892). The great nineteenth-century American poet, author of Leaves of Grass.

WHITTIER, JOHN GREENLEAF (1807-1892). Born in Haverhill, Mass., a devout Quaker, social reformer, journalist, poet, and editor, who wrote passionately for abolition. His most famous book was the long poem Snow-Bound (1866).

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List of notable or famous essayists from the United States, with bios and photos, including the top essayists born in the United States and even some popular essayists who immigrated to the United States. If you're trying to find out the names of famous American essayists then this list is the perfect resource for you. These essayists are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known essayist from the United States is included when available.

This list is made up of a variety of people, including Gore Vidal and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This historic essayists from the United States list can help answer the questions "Who are some American essayists of note?" and "Who are the most famous essayists from the United States?" These prominent essayists of the United States may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected American essayists.

Use this list of renowned American essayists to discover some new essayists that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. (164 items)

Gore Vidal was an American writer and a public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing. As Eugene Louis Vidal, he was born to a political family; his maternal grandfather was Thomas Pryor Gore, U.S. Senator for Oklahoma. As Gore Vidal, he was a ...more

Age: Died at 87 (1925-2012)

Birthplace: West Point, New York, USA

Also Ranked

#35 on The Best Historical Fiction Writers of All Time

#47 on The Best Gay Authors

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Christopher Eric Hitchens was an Anglo-American author, literary critic and journalist. He contributed to New Statesman, The Nation, The Atlantic, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Slate and Vanity Fair. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor and co-editor of over thirty ...more

Age: Died at 62 (1949-2011)

Birthplace: Portsmouth, United Kingdom

Also Ranked

#8 on History's Greatest Essayists

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Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published ...more

Age: Died at 79 (1803-1882)

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

Also Ranked

#28 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#92 on The Best Writers of All Time

#70 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#3 on History's Greatest Essayists

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Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was prolific and wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been ...more

Age: Died at 72 (1920-1992)

Birthplace: Petrovichi, Russia

Also Ranked

#41 on The Best Novelists of All Time

#24 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#1 on The Best Science-Fiction Authors

#70 on The Best Writers of All Time

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