Alfred Joyce Kilmer left a rich legacy of books and poetry, the most famous said to be inspired by a majestic tree that stood on the grounds of today’s George H. Cook Campus until the mid-1980s. After graduation, the young Kilmer taught school and worked for Standard Dictionary in New York, before joining the staff of The New York Times Magazine and Review of Books. In 1914, he published Trees and Other Poems, with the title poem gaining worldwide popularity. Other volumes followed: The Circus and Other Essays (1916); Main Street and Other Poems (1917); Literature in the Making (1917); and Dreams and Images (1917), an anthology of modern English and American-Catholic poetry. At the peak of his popularity, he enlisted in the Army, upholding his high sense of honor. Once in France, he joined the intelligence unit and was promoted to sergeant. While there, Kilmer wrote “Rouge Bouquet,” a sad verse reflecting his Catholic perspective on war. On July 30, 1918, a German sniper’s bullet ended his life at age 31. A symbol of courage and idealism, numerous parks and streets throughout the United States are named in his honor, as well as five American Legion posts.
Alfred Joyce Kilmer
Rutgers College 1908
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of