As a school-boy he was quiet and retiring, reading a great deal, but not paying much attention to his lessons.
He entered Harvard at the early age of fourteen, but never attained a high rank there, although he took a prize for an essay on Socrates, and was made class poet after several others had declined.
In 1832 he preached a sermon in which he announced certain views in regard to the communion service which were disapproved by a large part of his congregation.
He found it impossible to continue preaching, and, with the most friendly feelings on both sides, he parted from his congregation.
Next to his reserve and the faultless propriety of his conduct, his contemporaries at college seemed most impressed by the great maturity of his mind. He was always serene and thoughtful, impressing all who knew him with that spirituality which was his most distinguishing characteristic.
After graduating from college he taught school for a time, and then entered the Harvard Divinity School under Dr. Although he was not strong enough to attend all the lectures of the divinity course, the college authorities deemed the name Emerson sufficient passport to the ministry.The essay had a very small circulation at first, though later it became widely known.In the winter of 1836 Emerson followed up his discourse on Nature by a course of twelve lectures on the "Philosophy of History," a considerable portion of which eventually became embodied in his essays.This visit to Carlyle was to both men a most interesting experience.They parted feeling that they had much intellectually in common.The next year (1837) was the year of the delivery of the Man Thinking, or the American Scholar address before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Cambridge.This society, composed of the first twenty-five men in each class graduating from college, has annual meetings which have called forth the best efforts of many distinguished scholars and thinkers.Emerson spent the latter part of his life in lecturing and in literary work. Edward Emerson, gave an interesting account of how these lectures were constructed. This book, he said, was his 'Savings Bank.' The thoughts thus received and garnered in his journals were indexed, and a great many of them appeared in his published works.They were religiously set down just as they came, in no order except chronological, but later they were grouped, enlarged or pruned, illustrated, worked into a lecture or discourse, and, after having in this capacity undergone repeated testing and rearranging, were finally carefully sifted and more rigidly pruned, and were printed as essays." Besides his essays and lectures Emerson left some poetry in which is embodied those thoughts which were to him too deep for prose expression.In his other pastoral duties Emerson was not quite so successful.It is characteristic of his deep humanity and his dislike for all fuss and commonplace that he appeared to least advantage at a funeral.