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Michael Wigglesworth

Born: 18-Oct-1631
Birthplace: Yorkshire, England
Died: 10-Jun-1705
Location of death: Malden, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Bell Rock Cemetery, Malden, MA

Gender: Male
Religion: Calvinist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Bisexual [1]
Occupation: Poet

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Day of Doom

American clergyman and poet, born in England, probably in Yorkshire, on the 18th of October 1631. His father, Edward, was persecuted for his Puritan faith and emigrated with his family to New England in 1638, settling in New Haven. Michael studied for a time at a school kept by Ezekiel Cheever, and in 1651 graduated at Harvard, where he was a tutor (and a Fellow) in 1652-54. Having fitted himself for the ministry, he preached at Charlestown in 1653-54, and was pastor at Malden from 1656 until his death, though for twenty years or more bodily infirmities prevented his regular attendance upon his duties -- Cotton Mather described him as a "little feeble shadow of a man." During this interval he studied medicine and began a successful practice. He was again a Fellow of Harvard in 1697-1705. He died at Malden on the 10th of June 1705. Wigglesworth is best known as the author of The Day of Doom; or a Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment (1662). At least two English and eight American editions have appeared, notable among them being that of 1867 (New York), edited by W. H. Burr and including other poems of Wigglesworth, a memoir and an autobiography. For a century this realistic and terrible expression of the prevailing Calvinistic theology was by far the most popular work written in America. His other poems include "God's Controversy with New England" (written in 1662 in the time of the great drought, and first printed in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society for 1781), and "Meat out of the Eater, or Meditations concerning the Necessity, End and Usefulness of Afflictions unto God's Children" (1669, revised 1703).


[1] Married, but his diary contained encoded documentation of his homosexual urges.

Father: Edward (d. 1653)

    University: Harvard University (1651)
    Scholar: Fellow, Harvard University (1652-54 and 1697-1705)

Author of books:
The Day of Doom: or a Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment (1662, poetry)



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