Born in Glencoe, Illinois, Archibald MacLeish was the son of Andrew MacLeish, a dry-goods merchant, and his third wife, a college professor, Martha Hillard. The father was reserved, stern, and removed from his four children. The mother worked to develop in them a strong sense of social responsibility, which would come characterize MacLeish’s own life.
He spent his childhood on their estate on Lake Michigan, attending a private school, Hotchkiss, from 1907-1911 before attending Yale University in 1911, where he majored in English. At Yale, MacLeish wrote poetry and was involved in campus literary and social activities, as well as participating in college football. In 1915 he graduated from Yale, and entered Harvard Law School in the fall. The next year he married Ada Taylor Hitchcock, with whom he had four children, one of them dying in infancy.
Upon the U.S. entry in World War I, MacLeish enlisted as a private in Yale’s hospital unit, but soon shifted to a combat unit. At the same time Yale University Press published his first collection of poems, Tower of Ivory (1917).
BOOKS OF POETRY
Tower of Ivory (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1917); The Happy Marriage and Other Poems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924); The Pot of Earth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925); Nobodaddy: A Play (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Dunster House, 1926); Streets of the Moon (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1926); The Hamlet of A. MacLeish (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1928); Einstein (Paris: Black Sun Press, 1929); New Found Land: Fourteen Poems (Paris: The Black Sun Press, 1930 /Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930); Conquistador (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1932); Poems, 1924-1933 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1933); Frescoes for Mr. Rockefeller’s City (New York: John Day, 1933); Actfive and Other Poems (New York: Random House, 1948); Collected Poems 1917-1952 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952); Songs for Eve (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954); The Wild Old Wicked Man and Other Poems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968); Collected Poems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963); The Human Season: Selected Poems, 1926-1972 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972); Collected Poems, 1917-1982 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985)