FOSS, Sam Walter

Born: June 19, 1858, in Candia, New Hampshire, United States

Died: February 26, 1911, in Somerville, Massachusetts, United States

Sam Walter Foss was an American author, journalist, and librarian. As a humorous and optimistic author, he is best known for The House By the Side of the Road. He was a contemporary of Robert Service and Edward Guest.

He was the son of Dyer Foss, a farmer, and Polly Hardy Foss. His mother died when he was only four years old. Foss helped his father on the farm while attending public school. He graduated from Portsmouth High School as the class poet. He graduated from Brown University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1882.

After graduating, he marketed books. Then, he and a friend bought the Lynn, Massachusetts Union and changed its name to the Saturday Union. Foss worked as the editor, co-owner and humor columnist until 1887. He was the sole owner from 1884.

In order to produce a humor column once every week, Foss became skilled at creating his witty dialect verse on short order. This popular work was soon being published in other magazines as well. He married Carrie M. Conant on July 13, 1887, and moved to Boston that year where he became the editor of the Yankee Blade from 1887 to 1893.

After resigning from the Yankee Blade, he wrote a poem a day for syndication for the next year. For the next ten years, he worked as a general writer and editorial writer for the Boston Globe. Then, in 1898, he became librarian at the Somerville Public library, a position that he held until his death. From 1909, he was also a regular columnist for the Christian Science Monitor.

He was the president of the Massachusetts Library Club and received an honorary master's degree in Arts from Brown University. He wrote his last and perhaps his best work, Trumpets, just before his death.