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Old Ironsides


YOUNG OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

Oliver Wendell Holmes

ALL IN THE FAMILY
The minister, the doctor and the lawyer, all in their early years. Rev. Abiel Holmes (left) was the poet's father who may have been the inspiration for the poem "Old Ironsides." A youthful Oliver Wendell Holmes (center) as a law student about the time he wrote the famous poem at age 21 in one quick inspirational session in 1830. His son Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. during the Civil War, about the time of his romance with Dover, NH's Lucy Hale, and before his esteemed career as a Supreme Court Justice.

Abiel Holmes and early OWH pictures from The Life and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1896. OWH Jr. photo appears in various sources.

OLD HOLMES

Oliver Wendell Holmes and Old Ironsides

END OF THE LINE
Oliver Wendell Holmes died in 1894 at age 85. When he "passed to the other shore" on October 7, the USS Constitution was still afloat and being used as a receiving ship at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The photo above shows a veteran's group during a gala party held aboard "Old Ironsides" in 1891, before it was towed to its permanent home in Boston in 1897.

Holmes photo from Life and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1895. Ironsides photo from US Navy, Patch Collection, Portsmouth Athenaeum.

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