Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a commanding figure in the cultural life of nineteenth century America. Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine in 1807. During the 1850s he would become a national literary figure. By his death March 24th 1882 he would be world famous Henry was a traveler, a linguist and a romantic. He identified with great traditions of European literature and thought but was also rooted in American life and history. His imagination was charged with untried themes which helped make him a success.