November 4, 1854 - May 3, 1938
Samuel Minturn Peck was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He began writing poetry as a boy. When his father disapproved, he wrote in secret and sent his poems to newspapers under an assumed name. Peck attended the University of Alabama, graduating in 1876 with an MA in literature. To please his father, he then attended Bellevue Hospital Medical School in New York City. He obtained his MD in 1878, although he never practiced medicine. Peck's first publication under his real name was also in 1878, when the New York Evening Post published his poem "The Orange Tree." Peck studied literature briefly at Columbia University and in Paris, then returned to Tuscaloosa to live and write. His articles, short stories, and poems were published in prominent newspapers and nationally circulated magazines. Several of his poems, including the most famous, "The Grapevine Swing," were set to music and performed in minstrel shows. Peck became Alabama's first Poet Laureate in 1930, holding the post until his death.
Samuel Minturn Peck's poems celebrate a nostalgic vision of an idyllic South. His short stories are most notable for their Alabama settings.
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Photo from Maybloom and Myrtle, 1910.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.