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James Whitcomb Riley

(1849 - 1916)

James Whitcomb Riley was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. Known as the "Hoosier Poet" for his deep roots in Indiana, Riley’s work often celebrated the simplicity of rural life, using dialect to add character to his verses. Born in Greenfield, Indiana, he developed an early love for literature and storytelling. Though he initially struggled with his career, Riley eventually gained fame for his poetic style that struck a chord with the common people, reflecting their emotions and experiences.

His most notable works include poems such as “Little Orphant Annie” and “The Raggedy Man,” which showcased his talent for writing in vernacular. Riley's prolific contributions to the field of poetry made him a household name in the late 19th and early 20th century. His sentimentality and nostalgic portrayal of Americana won him a widespread audience. Despite his popularity waning after his death, Riley remains a significant figure in American literature, not just for his poetry, but for his role in the advancement of Midwestern literature and the preservation of regional voices.

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