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Algernon Sydney Logan

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Algernon Sydney Logan

Algernon Sydney Logan (May 17, 1849 – December 11, 1925) was a Philadelphia writer of poetry, drama, historical criticism and novels and a descendent of James Logan (1674 – 1751), secretary to William Penn. Each of his ten published books were self-funded and sold in small quantity although some received positive reviews. [1]


Logan, born into a Quaker heritage, was the son of John Dickinson Logan (1817 – 1881), who was a head of Pennsylvania Hospital, and Susan Lowry Wister Logan (1820 – 1884). He married Mary Wynne Wister, his second cousin. Logan grew up in privileged circumstances in the Germantown section of northwest Philadelphia, an area whose natural beauty served as a frequent poetic inspiration [2] beginning with The Mirror of a Mind (1875), a series of meditative and often melancholy cantos. The first reads:

  Bright clouds which are the spirits of
      the skies! 
  Even now, as ever, while ye soar above,
  On you the dying day has fixed his eyes
  With a last look of sympathy and love, – 
  Fired by that gleam through which all time           
         hath strove
  To light the soul from out its darkened
        isle; – 
  Ye are so pure, so heavenly, that ye move
  Like angels answering back day’s fading
  Though cold corporeal Earth is bathed in  
       night the while. [3]

Like James Logan, Algernon Sydney Logan was cerebral and literary-minded but more reserved. [2] “(H)e lived more intensely in his inner circle of literary thoughts and dreams then he did in his outer circle of home life and hobbies,” [2] wrote Robert Restalrig Logan, his son, in the preface to Logan’s posthumously-published personal journal Vistas From the Stream. Logan never took a professional career aside from his writing; however he played and composed music for violin and piano and practiced photography, clock-making, wood working and farming among other interests. [2] His favorite poets were Byron and Shelley.

 After his initial disappointment as the poor sales of his first books poetry, including The Image of Air, (1878) [2] Logan wrote the poetic drama Saul (1883) about the first king of Israel and Jesus in Modern Life (1888), an examination of Jesus and his influence including in literature and Messalina (1890), a tragic blank verse drama concerning the wife Claudius, the Roman Emperor. His first novel Not on the Chart, written in a naturalistic style (1899), was turned down by three publishers [2] but gathered some critical praise including a note to Logan from Emile Zola. [2] The novel Amy Warren: a tale of the Bay shore (1900) set in rural Kent County Delaware, a well-loved landscape of Logan’s, preceded Vestigia (1913), his last book and final collection of poems. 
 Several years before his death at 76-years-old from pneumonia [2] on December 11, 1925, Logan built a granite clocktower on family land in Goshenville near to West Chester Pennsylvania which he named the “Peace Tower” and dedicated to the deceased soldiers of World War I. The words “I count the unreturning as they pass” are inscribed on its bronze bell. [2] Buried as his father and mother were in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, Logan’s grave features an obelisk with the titles of his books and the inscription: 
  All worthy effort is its own reward,
    Who looks for more is out of tune with Time;
  Nature but bids our hearts to find accord
    With the wind-currents of her shifting clime


1. Advertisement of J.B. Lippincott Company. The Critic. Volume 14. October 25, 1890. Web. 21 June 2018, books.google.com/books

2. Logan, Algernon Sydney (1934) Vistas From the Stream Volume I. Philadelphia: National Publishing Company. Biographical Sketch of the author by his son by Robert Restalrig Logan.

3. Logan, Algernon Sydney (1875) A Mirror of a Mind. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.


The Last Crusade. Privately printed. 1870.

The Mirror of a Mind. New York, G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1875.

The Image of Air. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott and Company. 1878.

Saul. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott and Company. 1883.

A Feather from the World’s Wing. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott and Company. 1885.

Jesus in Modern Life. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott and Company. 1888.

Messalina. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott and Company. 1890.

Not on the Chart. New York. G.W. Dillingham Company. 1899.

Amy Warren: a tale of the Bay shore. New York. G.W. Dillingham Company. 1900.

Vestigia. Moffat, Yard and Company. 1913.

External Links

Vistas From the Stream: Volume I. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015063938263;view=1up;seq=1

References[edit | edit source]

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