Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ernest Samuels  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Born in Chicago, Illinois

Biographical and Professional Information

N/A


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Young Henry Adams
ISBN: 0674966309

Belknap Press. 1967

Henry Adams: The Major Phase (Belknap Press)
ISBN: 0674387511

Belknap Press. 1964

Book by Samuels, Ernest

The Education of Henry Adams (Riverside Editions)
ISBN: 0395166209

Wadsworth Publishing. 1972

The American historian reflects on his own life and educational experiences and illuminates events in the nineteenth century

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur (Harvard Paperbacks)
ISBN: 0674067770

Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press. 1979

Critic, arbiter of taste, renowned authority on Renaissance painting, and oracle to millionaire art collectors, Bernard Berenson was the most formidable presence in the Anglo-American art world for more than thirty years. His Villa I Tatti near Florence was a magnet for European and American intellectuals

he was able to say, late in life, that most of the Italian paintings that had come to the United States had “my visa on their passport.” Twenty years after his death he remains a paradoxical figure―fit challenge for a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer.

The story of the making of the connoisseur spans four decades, from Berenson’s childhood in Lithuania and in an immigrant enclave in Boston to the triumphant tour of the United States that confirmed his international reputation. Ernest Samuels interweaves with great skill the many threads of the narrative. No less fascinating than Berenson’s own development, and the accidents that shaped his career, are his relations with an extraordinary cast of characters whose lives impinged on his―among them George Santayana, William James, Bertrand Russell, Logan Pearsall Smith, Norman and Hutchins Hapgood, Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee, the Michael Fields, Gertrude Stein, Edith Wharton, Roger Fry, and, most notably, the fabled Mrs. Jack Gardner. His relationship with Mary Smith Costelloe, who left her husband and children for him and eventually became his wife, was so close that the book is almost as much her story as his.

Drawing on the thousands of letters B.B. and Mary wrote and the diaries she kept, Samuels is able to convey Berenson’s thoughts and impressions as well as the outward events of these crucial years of his life. He blends sympathy and irony in his many-faceted portrayal of a complex man and a remarkable career. It is a compelling book.

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Legend
ISBN: 0674067797

Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 1987

Controversy swirls around Bernard Berenson today as it did in his middle years, before and between two world wars. Who was this man, this supreme connoisseur of Italian Renaissance painting? How did he support his elegant estate near Florence, his Villa I Tatti? What exactly were his relations with the art dealer Joseph Duveen? What part did his wife, Mary, play in his scholarly work and professional career? The answers are to be found in the day-to-day record of his life as he lived it--as reported at first hand in his and Mary's letters and diaries and reflected in the countless personal and business letters they received. His is one of the most fully documented lives of this century. Ernest Samuels, having spent twenty years studying the thousands of letters and other manuscripts, presents his story in absorbing detail.

Berenson helped Isabella Stewart Gardner build her great collection and performed similar though lesser services for other wealthy Americans. It was merely an avocation and a useful source of income

his vocation was scholarship. But after 1904, when the book opens, his expertise was in ever-greater demand: a purchaser's only assurance of the authorship of an Italian painting was the opinion of an expert, and in this field Berenson was pre-eminent. Increasingly he was drawn into the lucrative world of the art dealers

inevitably Joseph Duveen found it essential to enlist his services, at first ad hoc, then by contractual agreement. Samuels charts the course of Berenson's long association with Duveen Brothers, detailing the financial arrangements, the humdrum chores and major contested attributions, the periodic clashes between the stubborn scholar and the arrogant entrepreneur.

The portrayal of Berenson's relationship with Mary is especially intriguing: a union of opposites in all but brains and wit, bonded--despite love affairs, jealousies, recriminations--no longer by passion but by shared concerns. Impinging on their lives are those of a huge circle of friends and acquaintances in America and the beau monde of Europe. Both as biography and as a chapter of social and cultural history, it is a compelling book.

Henry Adams
ISBN: 0674387368

Belknap Press. 1995

Henry Adams sought, late in life, to thwart prospective biographers by writing his own biography. Published soon after his death in 1918, The Education of Henry Adams was rightly greeted as a masterpiece. Not until thirty years later, with the appearance of the first volume of Ernest Samuels’s biography, did it become apparent how much the story had been colored by Adams’s singular philosophy of history and how great was the disparity between the protagonist of the Education and Adams as he actually was. Upon its completion in 1964, Samuels’s life of Henry Adams was hailed as “one of the great biographical achievements of our time”

its laurels included a Pulitzer Prize. Ernest Samuels has now distilled his ample narrative into a single absorbing volume. We see Adams as a lively undergraduate, in contrast to the jaded young man of the Education

as budding writer, newspaper correspondent, eager participant in political maneuverings in Washington and at the American embassy in London

as teacher at Harvard and editor of the North American Review

settled in Washington, as scholar, biographer, historian, novelist

as insatiable traveler

as friend and adviser to statesmen

as elderly cosmopolite spending half of each year abroad

and always as witty chronicler of the social scene and trenchant commentator on the events of his time. We are drawn into the personal drama of Adams’s middle years: his married life with Clover

the halcyon period in Washington in the early 1880s, catastrophically terminated by Clover’s depression and suicide

his growing passion for Elizabeth Cameron

and his flight to the South Seas. Throughout the book we follow the genesis and progress of his writings, from his muckracking journalism in President Grant’s Washington, through the social and political criticism of his novels, his biographies, and his great History, to the classic Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, the daring theories of the Education, and his last essays. Few biographies have so broad a canvas—sixty years of American political, social, and intellectual life, from the pre–Civil War years to the First World War. And few offer so revealing a portrait of a complex human being and an extraordinary career.

Henry Adams: The Middle Years
ISBN: 0965651908

History Book Club. 2003

Francis Parkman Prize Edition


Awards

-- Pulitzer Prize in biography, 1965, for the three-volume Henry Adams. He also received the Carl Sandburg Award for Bernard Berenson,The Making of a Connoisseur, in 1980.