Free History Studies: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Free History Studies: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Free History Studies: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet whose love of children earned him the nickname “The Children’s Poet.”

Read the current chapter online: “Longfellow as a Boy”

  • Map the following (you’ll find mapping resources below):
    • Maine
    • Portland, Maine (where Longfellow was born)
  • Create a notebooking page for a robin.  You can draw or illustrate at the top and include interesting facts you learn about it below.  (See helps below.)
  • Longfellow included a robin in one of his most famous poems:

    In the thickets and the meadows
    Piped the bluebird, the Owaissa.
    On the summit of the lodges
    Sang the robin, the Opechee.
    Longfellow—Hiawatha. Pt. XXI.

  • Do you remember the stories in Irving’s “Sketch Book”?
  • Learn more about Lovewell’s Fight.
  • Read Longfellow’s poem, “The Battle of Lovewell’s Pond,” as printed in the Portland Gazette, November 17, 1820.
  • In light of the judge’s comments, compare Longfellow’s poem about Lovewell’s Fight with this version written shortly after the battle.
  • Read the entire poem, “A Psalm of Life” by Longfellow.
  • Copy the three stanzas in the chapter from “A Psalm of Life.”
  • Read some of Longfellow’s other works (see below) and narrate your favorite passage.
  • View a draft of Longfellow’s “The Village Blacksmith.”
  • Memorize your favorite poem!
  • More about Longfellow from the Book of Knowledge:

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a native of Portland, Maine, where his father was a lawyer.  He had a happy, sheltered childhood, and at the age of fifteen went to Bowdoin, where he entered the sophomore class and was Hawthorne’s classmate.  Just at the time he graduated, it was decided to add a professor of modern languages to the faculty at Bowdoin.  The professorship was offered to Longfellow.  In 1826 he went to Europe to prepare himself by three years of study, which he spent chiefly in France, Italy and Spain.  He taught so successfully at Bowdoin that in 1835 he was called to Harvard, and from that time we associate him with Harvard and Cambridge.

    Before he settled down at Harvard he spent a year in Germany, and in 1836 took up his new work.  His wife had died while they were in Europe but in 1841 he married again and led a happy home life in the old Craigie Mansion, almost under the shade of the Washington Elm.  As years went on he became more and more famous as a poet, and finally gave up teaching altogether in order to devote himself to writing poetry and translating poems from other languages….

    “The Children’s Hour” shows us how he loved children, and he was loved by them in return.  In fact, he was called the Children’s Poet, and toward the end of his life children presented him with a great chair made from the wood of the chestnut tree under which the “village smithy” stood.  He lived to the age of seventy-five and died in March, 1882, as gently as he had lived….

    Love was the motive of his life and showed through all his verse.  He wrote of the homely, everyday things of life, and turned them into poetry.

    “American Literature,” The Book of Knowledge

Further Investigation

The Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Biography from the Maine Historical Society.

Longfellow’s Wife Dies
Biography at

Searchable Database of Longfellow Poems
From the Maine Historical Society.

Selected Works
Online Poetry Anthology

Online Poetry Anthology
Our curated poetry anthology that holds a couple of Longfellow poems with go-alongs.

“The Children’s Hour”

“Christmas Bells”

“Paul Revere’s Ride”

“There Was a Little Girl”


Maine Map/Quiz Printout

Interactive Map Maker {Free}
Make your own maps.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Poetry for Young People: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
While we have enjoyed this illustrated series as an introduction to various poets — Longfellow being a favorite — others might object to the sometimes-abridged versions of some poems appearing inside.  The choice, as always, is yours!

The Children’s Own Longfellow
Illustrated public domain work that includes several favorites.

The Children’s Longfellow by Doris Hayman
Eleven favorites told in prose.

A Day With Longfellow
Part of the Days With Great Poets series that interweaves the life and times of the poet with his works.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

The Writer’s Hour
Five lessons for younger students from the Maine Historical Society covering Longfellow and poetry.  Many of the printables will work great for a notebook!

Longfellow’s Life and Legacy
39-page teacher’s guide from the National Park Service that includes a helpful timeline, biographical information, and a look at Longfellow’s poetry.  Also includes several poems with associated background.

Poetry and the Imagination: The Legacy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
66-page lesson plan from the National Park Service that covers learning about Longfellow, elements of poetry, and writing.

The Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Ten lessons for older students analyzing his poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.  All of the poems referred to can be found in the database above.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

United States Map map for locating Maine.

Maine State Map
Map for locating Portland.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
For creating a robin notebooking page.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
Graphic organizer option for creating a robin page at

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.

Enjoy the complete series: