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Memoir of Jared Sparks, LL.D.   By: (1809-1879)

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In Brantz Mayer's compelling work, Memoir of Jared Sparks, LL.D., the author delivers an insightful and engaging account of the intriguing life and accomplishments of Jared Sparks. Mayer skillfully crafts a comprehensive biography, delving deep into the intricate details of Sparks' journey from a young scholar to a prominent figure in American historical scholarship.

One of the most commendable aspects of Mayer's memoir is his meticulous research. The author draws upon a rich array of primary sources, including letters, diaries, and personal correspondence, to paint a vivid picture of Sparks' character and motivations. Mayer's commitment to accuracy is evident throughout the book, as he seamlessly weaves together various narratives to provide a well-rounded and intricate portrait of Sparks.

Another strength of the memoir lies in Mayer's ability to capture the essence of the historical context in which Sparks lived. By analyzing Sparks' life against the backdrop of major events such as the American Revolution and the Antebellum period, Mayer expertly situates his subject within the larger tapestry of American history. This approach not only sheds light on Sparks' personal experiences but also offers readers a broader understanding of the cultural and intellectual forces shaping the nation during that time.

While Mayer's writing is generally engaging, there are moments when the narrative becomes overly detailed, occasionally bordering on lengthy digressions. While these instances do not detract significantly from the overall quality of the memoir, they may test the patience of some readers seeking a more concise and streamlined narrative.

Nevertheless, the enduring legacy of Jared Sparks is effectively conveyed by Mayer, who successfully highlights Sparks' role as a champion of American history and culture. From his tenure as Harvard University's president to his prolific work as an editor and writer, Sparks' contributions to American historical scholarship are rightfully celebrated in this memoir.

Overall, Memoir of Jared Sparks, LL.D. is a commendable work by Brantz Mayer, which effectively captures the remarkable life and accomplishments of Jared Sparks. It is a compelling biography that will undoubtedly appeal to history enthusiasts, scholars, and anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the role of historical figures in shaping the narrative of a nation.

First Page:




President of the Maryland Historical Society:

[Illustration: Jared Sparks

Anno Ætatis XL. ]


Prepared at the Request of the Society, and Read Before Its Annual Meeting, on Thursday Evening, February 7, 1867.

Printed for the Maryland Historical Society, by John Murphy. Baltimore, 1867.


IT has been a sad but not entirely unpleasant duty to prepare, at the request of the Maryland Historical Society, a brief memoir of one of our earliest and most distinguished Honorary Members, the late JARED SPARKS, LL.D. The duty, though sad, is not without a pleasant recompense, for the eulogium which a long continued friendship and intercourse demand can be bestowed with cordial truth.

Mr. Sparks was what we call, in America, a self made man. Although his life is a fair illustration of what an industrious person of talent and common sense may compass by decision of character and a high aim, my object in these observations is not to draw from his biography what has been aptly called "ostentatious precepts and impertinent lessons." By a self made man I do not mean to class Mr. Sparks with that large and influential body of citizens whose portraits adorn the illustrated newspapers, and whose memoirs disclose the opinion that the making of a great deal of money is the making of a very exemplary man... Continue reading book >>

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