Snow, Charles (1884 - 1977)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Poetry

Poet, educator, and politician Wilbert Snow, as he was commonly known, was born April 6, 1884 on White Head Island, St. George, Maine. Although he loved and valued the Maine coast, returned to it regularly, and made it almost the sole focus of his poetry, Wilbert Snow knew from a young age that he would leave it.

Snow graduated from Bowdoin College in 1907 and from Columbia University in 1910 with a Master of Arts degree. With the exception of the time he spent in Alaska as a teacher and reindeer agent (1911-1912), and his service as a U.S. Army artillery captain during World War I, Snow's primary career was teaching English at a number of schools including (among others) Bowdoin College (his alma mater), Williams College and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where he began a 31-year teaching career in 1921. During his last year of teaching, he was also a U.S. State Department lecturer in Europe and Asia. Upon his retirement from Wesleyan in 1952 he was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus.

Snow had an intense interest in politics and the highlight of his political career was his election as Connecticut's Lieutenant Governor in 1945-1946. He also served as Governor for 12 days in 1947 when the then-governor, Raymond Baldwin, resigned before the end of his term to become a U.S. Senator.

White Head Island, Snow's birthplace, always remained a special place for him. His son, Nicholas Snow, published a brief and touching remembrance of his father's last visit to the island in mid-summer 1977 entitled 'Snow on Snow,' which appeared in the 1989 Island Journal, the annual publication of the Island Institute. Snow died on September 28, 1997 at Spruce Island, Maine, his summer home.

Selected Bibliography

  • Maine Coast (1923)
  • Inner Harbor: More Maine Coast poems (1926)
  • Down East (1932)
  • Selected Poems (1936)
  • Before the Wind (1938)
  • Maine Tides (1940)
  • Sonnets to Steve, and Other Poems (1957)
  • Spruce Head: Selections from the Poetry of Wilbert Snow (1958)
  • The Collected Poems of Wilbert Snow (1963, 1973, 2nd ed.)
  • His autobiography, Codline's Child, was published in 1973.

Selected Links

  • Biographical information and a small collection of letters Snow wrote to Homer Woodbridge, a fellow Wesleyan professor, can be found at the Delaware University Library