The son of two devout Quakers, John Greenleaf Whittier was born and raised on the family farm on December 17, 1807, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His first published poem, "The Exile's Departure," was published in William Lloyd Garrison's Newburyport Free Press in 1826. At Garrison's urging, Whittier attended Haverhill Academy from 1827 to 1828, while supporting himself as a shoemaker and schoolteacher.
A Quaker devoted to social causes and reform, Whittier worked passionately for a series of abolitionist newspapers and magazines. In Boston, he edited the American Manufacturer and the Essex Gazette before becoming editor of the New England Weekly Review. Whittier was also active in his support of National Republican candidates; he was a delegate in 1831 to the national Republican Convention in support of Henry Clay, and he himself ran unsuccessfully for Congress the following year. (continued)