Logan Pearsall Smith


1865 – 1946


Who was Logan Pearsall Smith?

Logan Pearsall Smith was an American-born essayist and critic.

Smith was born in Millville, New Jersey. He was the son of the prominent Quakers Robert Pearsall Smith and Hannah Whitall Smith and a descendant of James Logan, who was William Penn's secretary and the Chief Justice of Pennsylvania in the 18th century. His mother's family had become wealthy from its glass factories. He lived for a time as a boy in England, and later attended The William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Haverford College, Harvard College, and the University of Berlin. In his 1938 autobiography, Smith describes how in his youth he came to be a friend of Walt Whitman in the poet's latter years. Smith later studied at Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1891. He then settled in England with occasional forays to continental Europe and became a British citizen in 1913. He divided his time between Chelsea, where he was a close friend of Desmond MacCarthy and Rose Macaulay, and a Tudor farmhouse near the Solent, called "Big Chilling". Smith employed a succession of young secretary/companions to help him. This post was Cyril Connolly's first job in 1925 and he was to be strongly influenced by Smith. Robert Gathorne-Hardy succeeded Connolly in this post.

Famous Quotes:

  • Thank Heaven, the sun has gone in, and I don't have to go out and enjoy it.
  • We grow with years more fragile in body, but morally stutter, and can throw off the chill of a bad conscience almost at once.
  • There are people who, like houses, are beautiful in dilapidation.
  • Fine writers should split hairs together, and sit side by side, like friendly apes, to pick the fleas from each others fur.
  • What pursuit is more elegant than that of collecting the ignominies of our nature and transfixing them for show, each on the bright pin of a polished phrase?
  • When they come downstairs from their Ivory Towers, idealists are very apt to walk straight into the gutter.
  • Those who set out to serve both God and Mammon soon discover that there isn't a God.
  • If you want to be thought a liar, always tell the truth.
  • I can't forgive my friends for dying; I don't find these vanishing acts of theirs at all amusing.
  • That we should practice what we preach is generally admitted; but anyone who preaches what he and his hearers practice must incur the gravest moral disapprobation.

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Oct 18, 1865
  • United States of America
  • Balliol College
  • Haverford College
Mar 2, 1946

on July 23, 2013


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