Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Desiderata author

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1872 Max Ehrmann (d. September 9, 1945), an attorney from Indiana, USA, best known for writing the ‘Desiderata’ (Latin: 'something desired as essential') in 1927. Unfortunately, he died some two decades before that poem became popular, and protected by copyright law.

In about 1965, copies of the poem were published in hundreds, or more likely, thousands, of publications with the fraudulent (or perhaps simply mistaken) attribution 'Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore; Dated 1692', and it was widely reprinted on the assumption that it was in the public domain, but it is still under copyright. Although it would seem quite apparent that the poem’s concepts and wording belong to the 20th Century rather than the 17th, even today the hoax has wide currency ...

In the Scriptorium: Hoaxes and frauds through history

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