Nathan Haskell Dole

Nathan Haskell Dole (August 31, 1852 – May 9, 1935) was an American editor, translator, and author. He attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and graduated from Harvard University in 1874. He was a writer and journalist in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. He translated many works of Leo Tolstoy, and books of other Russians; novels of the Spaniard Armando Palacio Valdés (1886–90); a variety of works from the French and Italian.


Nathan Haskell Dole was born August 31, 1852, in Chelsea, Massachusetts[1] He was the second son of his father Reverend Nathan Dole (1811–1855) and mother Caroline (Fletcher) Dole. Dole grew up in the Fletcher homestead, a strict Puritan home, in Norridgewock, Maine, where his grandmother lived and where his mother moved with her two boys after his father died of tuberculosis.

Sophie May wrote her Prudy Books in Norridgewock, which probably showed the sort of life Nathan and his older brother Charles Fletcher Dole (1845–1927), lived. A newspaper article about Nathan in the Boston Evening Transcript, February 8, 1929, suggested that Nathan, lively from the start, may have offered good material for the mischievous boys who acted as foil for the goody-good ones in the Prudy Books. The same Boston Evening Transcript article said that Nathan was an omnivorous reader, who soon taught himself to read in French, German, Greek and Latin. He studied at the Eaton School in Norridgewock, and then under private tutors. Later he went to the Phillips Exeter Academy and Phillips Andover Academy, graduating in 1870, and then to Harvard, from which he graduated in 1874. Years later he received an L.H. Doctorate and Honorary Alumnus from Oglethorp University in Atlanta, Georgia.

After college, Dole taught at De Veaux College from 1874 to 1875, and at Worcester High School from 1875 to 1876. From 1876 to 1878, he was preceptor at Derby Academy, in Hingham, Massachusetts. In 1881, he left teaching to work for the Philadelphia Press, where he was musical art and literary editor until 1878. (For a time his work appeared in both the morning and evening edition of the Press, affording him the opportunity of contradicting in the evening paper what he had said in the morning edition, and vice versa. From 1887 to 1901 he was literary advisor to T. Y. Crowell Publishing Company. He was Secretary of the department of publicity at D. Appleton and Co. for five months in 1901.

In 1892, Dole married Helen James Bennett. They moved to Boston, where he concentrated on writing, translating, editing and lecturing. He and his family lived in Jamaica Plain for many years, spending their summers in Ogunquit, Maine. They were popular members of the Boston social and literary set. Their home was full of both music and literature, and was well known for good conversation at the four o'clock teas every afternoon.

In 1928, when he was seventy-six, they moved to New York City to be near their daughter and grandchildren and lived in Riverdale-on-Hudson.

Dole knew such literary giants as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who was his father's instructor in Bowdoin College), Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., William Cullen Bryant, James Russell Lowell, Charles Anderson Dana, Walt Whitman, William Dean Howells, John Greenleaf Whittier, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Edward Everett Hale, Julia Ward Howe, Louise Chandler Moulton, Byrd Spilman Dewey and many others.

Dole died May 9, 1935, at Yonkers, New York of a heart attack.


Among his original writings are:

  • A Score of Famous Composers (1891-1902-1924) (Enlarged and revised as in 1927.)
  • The Hawthorn Tree and other Poems (1895)
  • Joseph Jefferson at Home (1898)
  • Life of Count Tolstoi (1911)
  • The Spell of Switzerland (1913)
  • Young Folks History of Russia, 1881.
  • Not Angela Quite (fiction) 1893.
  • On the Point (fiction) 1893 Famous Composers;,
  • The Hawthorn Tree and Other Poems, 1896.
  • Poem for the Educational Music Courses, 1896.
  • Joseph Jefferson At Home, 1896.
  • Life of Francis William Bird, 1897.
  • Omar the Tentmaker, A Romance of Old Persia, 1898, in 1921 and 1928.
  • Peace and Progress, 1904.
  • Six Italian Essays, 1907.
  • The Pilgrims and other Poems, 1907.
  • Rote Songs for Boston Public Schools, 1915-1916.
  • America in Spitsbergen (two volumes), 1922.
  • The Mistakes We Make, 1898.
  • The Latin Poets, 1905.
  • The Breviary Treasures (10 Vols.) 1905-1906.
  • The Greek Poets, 1907.

He contributed to:

  • Boston Evening Transcript
  • The Portland News
  • The Independent
  • The New York Times Literary Supplement
  • Many other magazines.

Dole was Associate Editor of:

  • The Internal Library of Famous Literature, 1890
  • Flowers from Persia Poets, 1901
  • The Young Folks Library, 1902
  • The Encyclopedia Americana, 1905
  • Vocations, 1909-1910. (10 vols., in collaboration with Pres. Hyde and Caroline Ticknor.)
  • The 10th Edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotation, with additions. Poems of Dr. Samuel S. Curry, with Biography, 1923.

His editorial works include:


  1. Rossiter Johnson; John Howard Brown (1904). The twentieth century biographical dictionary of notable Americans. The Biographical Society. pp. 294–295.
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