born in Massachusetts, was reared in squalid surroundings there and in New York City, and educated himself while working as an iron molder. He published a volume of romantic Poems (1852), and through Hawthorne's aid obtained a position as inspector of customs in New York (1853–70). After occupying other political posts, he became the literary editor of the New York Mail and Express (1880–1903). His poetry, published in such volumes as Songs of Summer (1857), Abraham Lincoln: An Horatian Ode (1865), Poems (1880), and The Lion's Cub, and Other Poems (1890), was greatly admired in his day, but has come to be considered artificial, sentimental, and lacking in force, despite his gifts of melody and imagery. After 1870 Stoddard and his wife held a salon that was considered a center of New York literary life, and included not only such prominent contemporaries as Bayard Taylor and E. C. Stedman, but lesser-known figues like Melville, whom he befriended.