Dowling, William C. Oliver Wendell Holmes in Paris: Medicine, Theology, and “The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.” Lebanon: University Press of New England, 2006. Biography of Holmes that focuses on his life as a physician but also describes his life as a writer.
Howe, M. A. De Wolfe. Holmes of the Breakfast Table. 1939. Reprint. Mamaroneck, N.Y.: P. P. Appel, 1972. Illustrated biographical study divides Holmes’s life into four periods. Each chapter uses his poetry in part to help describe his endeavors and illuminate his life. Contains an index.
Hoyt, Edwin Palmer. The Improper Bostonian: Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes. New York: William Morrow, 1979. This definitive biography is thorough and well researched, with generous notes on each chapter. Chapters are short, well focused, and readable. Holmes as a literary figure is studied primarily in chapters 16 to 20, which quote a number of poems. Includes illustrations and a good index.
Podolsky, Scott H., and Charles S. Bryan, eds. Oliver Wendell Holmes: Physician and Man of Letters. Sagamore Beach, Mass.: Boston Medical Library/ Science History Publications, 2009. Although this collection of essays focuses on Holmes as a physician, it contains a chapter on Holmes as a writer.
Small, Miriam Rossiter. Oliver Wendell Holmes. 1962. Reprint. New York: Twayne, 1970. Examines Holmes’s work in three groups: the breakfast-table series, the novels, and the poems for Harvard occasions. Biocritical study follows a chronology established by the autobiographical echoes in his prose and poetry. In addition to six chapters, the book includes a chronology, references and notes, select bibliography, and index.
Weinstein, Michael A. The Imaginative Prose of Oliver Wendell Holmes. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006. Although this work deals with the novels and breakfast-table books, it provides a clear and detailed picture of who Holmes was, what he thought, and what he hoped to accomplish by writing.