William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, on September 17, 1883. His father (William George Williams) was an Englishman who never gave up his British citizenship, and his mother (Raquel Hélène Rose Hoheb, known as Elena) was a Puerto Rican of Basque, Dutch, Spanish, and Jewish descent. His father was an Episcopalian who turned Unitarian and his mother was Roman Catholic. Williams was educated at schools in New York City and briefly in Europe and graduated with a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1909. After an internship in New York City and graduate study in pediatrics in Leipzig, he returned to his native Rutherford, where he practiced medicine until he retired. He proposed to Florence “Floss” Herman in 1909 and they were married in 1912. Their first son, William Eric Williams, was born in 1914 and their second, Paul Herman Williams, in 1916.
Williams, a melting pot in himself, had deep roots as a second-generation citizen of the United States. From early in his life he felt that the United States was his only home and that he must possess it in order to know himself. Possessing the America of the past and the present would enable him to renew himself continually and find his own humanity. Unlike many writers of his generation who went to Europe, such as his friend Ezra Pound, Williams committed himself to living in the United States because he believed he had to live in a place to be able to grasp it...
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