Family and background
James Whitcomb Riley was born on October 7 1849 in the town of Greenfield Indiana the third of the six children of Reuben Andrew and Elizabeth Marine Riley. He was honored with annual Riley Day celebrations around the United States and was regularly called on to perform readings at national civic events. Riley became a bestselling author in the 1890s.
During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry respectively. Riley began his career writing verses as a sign maker and submitting poetry to newspapers. Thanks in part to an endorsement from poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow he eventually earned successive jobs at Indiana newspaper publiJames Whitcomb Rileyrs during the latter 1870s.