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Sara Teasdale
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: September 02, 2003 09:16AM

Has anyone access to biographical information about her. I've just come across The Silent Battle a peom about long illness dedicated to JWT Jr and wonder if the dedication was to her father or a brother, or someone else entirely. The only 2 on-line biographies I've found tell me that she was born to fairly old parents, but not their names or whether she had siblings.

The poem goes:

He was a soldier in that fight
Where there is neither flag nor drum
And without sound of musketry
The stealthy foemen come.

Year in, year out, by day and night
They forced him to a slow retreat,
And for his gallant fight alone
No fife was blown and no drum beat.

In winter fog, in gathering mist
The gray grim battle had its end . .
And at the very last we knew
His enemy had turned his friend.

I'm also interested in when it was written, if anyone knows.

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: ilza (
Date: September 02, 2003 01:27PM

I know she was the youngest child ...
of John Warren Teasdale,
and Mary Elizabeth Willard Teasdale

her name was actually sarah

I will try to find about more ...

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: ilza (
Date: September 02, 2003 01:33PM

check this out
it says she had 2 brothers and a sister :

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: ilza (
Date: September 02, 2003 01:39PM

I believe it was published in 1920
(the book was Flame and Shadow )
- maybe earlier ...

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: Chesil (
Date: September 02, 2003 06:42PM

Flame and Shadow was definitely published in 1920. Oddly, this poem is not in my collected Teasdale for Flame and Shadow but many other sources definitely include it. I wonder why it was excluded from the Collected?

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: ilza (
Date: September 02, 2003 07:41PM

the book was published October 1920,
but the poems were written between 1916-1920

anyway, we did manage to find a couple of things, right ?

she was the youngest
she did have a brother JWT jr ...
she commited suicide in 33, age 48

In 1932 she wrote a friend
‘The illness seemed to me a becoming time to make my
final exit. But apparently that is to be delayed and I am not too glad’

She was found dead in a bathtub ( an overdose of sleeping pills)
She had asked her ashes to be scattered at sea so that
‘there may remain neither trace nor remembrance ..."

But her sister buried her in her ex-husband’s family plot.

In 1918 Love Songs won what was essentially the first Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

you can see a photo and her "star":

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: Chesil (
Date: September 02, 2003 09:10PM

We know a little more than that.

She was courted by the poet Vachel Lindsay having been introduced by Harriet Monroe, the founder of Poetry magazine. His ardour wasn't returned and she fell in love with John Wheelock who, in turn, did not return her passion and she eventually married Ernst Filsinger who was introduced to her by another member of Poetry's staff! This after Lindsay made another spirited attempt to persuade Teasdale.

Teasdale was divorced from Ernst in 1929.

Lindsay committed suicide in 1931.

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: September 03, 2003 04:01AM

Thank very much for all the information, it was extremely helpful. I find her poetry very interesting and quite inspiring. I read about Lindsay proposing, so looked his bio up and it seems they'd have had a rough time together as he was mentally unstable, epilieptic and diabetic and she was a neurasthenic semi-invalid, who badly needed the support and nurturing her husband gave her. One of the bios Iread said she had an abortion because she couldn't face motherhood. Then again, they might both have produced the most incredible poetry, for a short period!

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: ilza (
Date: September 03, 2003 01:56PM

there is more bio info available, of course
- but I understand those we were able to find are ( kind of ... )
what you wanted to know
I used to have a bio book by William Drake when I was living elsewhere
but I don't remember where I placed it - if I brought it at all ...

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: StephenFryer (
Date: September 13, 2003 05:57PM

Some more photos:

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Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: September 14, 2003 05:11AM

Thank you - she is a most interesting poet. Whenever I wish I had that sort of talent I console myself by thinking of the toll it seems to take on the individual and their family - probably worth it from the viewpoint of those who appreciate their work, but pretty grim if you had to live it!

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: peggy (
Date: July 27, 2004 01:55AM

I know quite a bit about Sara Teasadale as she has always been my favorite poet. I do have the book by William Drake also.
Sara loved Vachel, but couldn't marry him, because (1) he didn't have enough money to support her in the style to which she was accustomed and (2) she was an ill health all her life , and needed money to take care of her. We keep coming back to the money issue.
In the book by William Drake she is quoted as telling her friend Eunice " Oh, if I only had $4,000 a year and my health, how I'd gladly be Mrs. Lindsay!"
She married Ernst because he had more money, and her parents approved of him. Back then that was very important in upper class families.
Some sources have even suggested that Sara and Vachel had an affair together while they were dating. But she married Ernst and lived to regret it. A few years before their deaths, Vacel wrote and said "I remember EVERYTHING" . And in the book by William Drake she had an abortion about 3 years after she married Ernst. Not because she couldn't face being a mother, but because her mental health was not good. She had herself put into the same small county mental hospital many times. She would go there when her nerves were in bad shape. I think nowdays she would have been treated for depression and social anixety. She committed suicide 13 months after Vachel did. I think she lived to regret not marrying him. After his death she told a friend he was one of the half dozen (6) people in the world that she cared for.

Re: Sara Teasdale
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: July 27, 2004 06:25AM

Thank you so much, Peggy, you've fleshed the bones out nicely. We'd got a sort of caricature of her in the previous postings, but yours makes her sound a much more real person one could empathise with. Thanks again.

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