Sunday, 23 November 2014

First World War husband and wife poets - Joyce (1886 - 1918) and Aline (1888 - 1941) Kilmer

Aline was born on 1st August 1888 in Norfolk, Virginia.  Her parents were Ada Foster Murray, also a published poet, and Kenton C. Murray, who edited the “Norfolk Landmark” newspaper.   

Alfred Joyce Kilmer was born on 6th December 1886 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  His parents were Annie Ellen Kilmer, née Kilburn, who was a writer/composer, and Dr. Frederick Barnett Kilmer, a physician/chemist.

Aline’s Father died in 1895 and in 1900, her Mother remarried Henry Mills Alden, the Managing Editor of “Harpers’ Magazine”.

Aline and Joyce were educated at Rutgers College Grammar School, where they met.   They were married on 9th June 1908.

When their daughter Rose contracted Polio, Joyce and Aline converted to the Roman Catholic faith. 

Joyce Kilmer enlisted in the New York National Guard in May 1917, in response to America joining the conflict and his Regiment was posted to the Western Front, where he joined the 69th US Infantry Regiment with the rank of Sergeant.  He later joined his Regiment's Intelligence Unit and was killed by sniper fire on 30th July 1918. He is buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in Picardy, France. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery.  

After her husband's death in the First World War, aline had her first collection of poetry published under the title "Candles that Burn" in 1919.   She continued to write poetry and also wrote children's books. Aline died in Stillwater Township in New Jersey on 1st October 1941.