Hodgson, Ralph

Born: September 9, 1871
Died: November 3, 1962

Ohio connection: Former Resident


Ralph Hodgson was born in 1871 in Yorkshire, England, the sixth in a family of seven boys and six girls born to Ralph and Mary Graham Hodgson. Little is known about his childhood, as he was a very private person, resisting attempts to record biographical data. What is known is that during his childhood, he had a great interest in drawing, and this led to his joining a touring troupe as scene director. He spent time in the United States in the early 1890s. By 1895, he was back in England, drawing cartoons for magazines and newspapers, sometimes using the pseudonym Yorick. His career included work as a poet, journalist, draftsman, artist, publisher, and breeder of bull terriers. He had a great love for animals, and fought against cruelty to animals, including the common practice of clipping the ears and docking the tails of bull terriers. He began his career as a poet with the publication of The Last Blackbird, and Other Lines, in 1907. Other titles were The BullThe Mystery, and Other PoemsThe Song of Honour;The Muse and the Mastiff; and The Skylark, and Other Poems. Poems, published in 1917, established Hodgson`s reputation as a poet, and is still generally considered to be the high point of his poetic career. The major subjects are a love of nature and a call for the end of cruelty to animals, which are common themes throughout his poetic works. Hodgson`s wife Janet died in 1920, and he married Muriel Fraser in 1921. They were divorced in 1927. In 1933, he married Lydia Aurelia Bolliger, who was a teacher in a women`s college in Sendai, Japan. From 1924 to 1938, Hodgson was a lecturer in English at the Imperial University in Sendai. In 1938, the Hodgsons left Japan, and after staying for a short while in England, moved to the United States, to a farm near Minerva, Ohio. They led a quiet life, keeping dogs and watching birds. Hodson died November 3, 1962.

Edward de Poutor of Prize from Royal Society of Literature, 1914, for The Bull; Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government, 1938, for meritorious services to the country; award from National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1946, for distinguished achievement; Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry (Great Britain), 1954.