The New International Encyclopædia/Ripley, George

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RIPLEY, George (1802-80). An American scholar and critic, born in Greenfield, Mass. He graduated at Harvard in 1823, was an instructor there, studied theology, and was ordained in 1826. He remained in Boston until 1841, busying himself with philosophical speculations, was gradually drawn into the Transcendental circle, wrote on metaphysics and education, and endeavored to further the knowledge of Continental literatures by a series of translations. On leaving his pulpit, he became a prime mover in the socialistic experiment of Brook Farm (q.v.). When this association failed (1847) Ripley went to Flatbush, L. I., and in 1848 he settled in New York City. He was the joint editor with C. A. Dana (q.v.) of Appleton's New American Cyclopædia (1857-63), and of the new edition of that work (1873-76). He also worked on the staff of The Tribune, chiefly as literary critic, and brought its reviews up to a high standard. His first wife died in 1861, and in 1865 he married a German of Parisian education, after which he traveled much, and became the centre of a brilliant literary circle, exerting thus the most genial and helpful influence of his life, greater in what he inspired others to do than in what he himself accomplished. The translations of Foreign Standard Literature (14 vols., 1838-42) were his most important publications and in their time had great influence. Consult: Frothingham, George Ripley, in the “American Men of Letters” (Boston, 1882); Swift, Brook Farm (New York, 1900), which has a bibliography; and see Transcendentalism.