John Hall Wheelock was born in Far Rockaway, New York, to William Efner Wheelock and Emily Charlotte Hall Wheelock. He grew up spending summers on the shore at East Hampton, Long Island, where he developed a deep affection for the sea. His verse writing began at a young age. By the time he enrolled at Harvard University, Wheelock was firmly set on the course that would lead him to a career in writing and publishing poetry that would extend over a span of more than sixty years.
At Harvard, Wheelock had the good fortune, in September, 1904, to begin a friendship with the surprisingly widely read Van Wyck Brooks. Wheelock and Brooks shared a deeply seated enthusiasm for Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855); and in 1905, the two collaborated in anonymously publishing a small collection entitled Verses by Two Undergraduates. After leaving Harvard, where his honors had included serving as class poet, Wheelock pursued studies at the Universities of Göttingen and Berlin.
In 1910, after two years abroad, Wheelock returned to find Brooks working for the Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary. Wheelock undertook the same work for a time, although he proved less successful than his friend at what amounted to literary hackwork and was let go. During this period his preferred literary efforts, however, were beginning to meet with success, with his verses appearing in Scribner’s and The American Magazine....
(The entire section is 551 words.)