About the Poet

Max Ehrmann, 1872 – 1945Max Erhmann

Max Ehrmann was an American writer, poet, and attorney. He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on September 16, 1872 to German immigrant parents. Young Ehrmann was educated at the Terre Haute Fourth District School and the German Methodist Church.

In 1894, Ehrmann graduated from DePauw University with an English degree. He went on to study law and philosophy at Harvard University. Ehrmann returned to his hometown in 1898 to practice law. He was a deputy state’s attorney in Vigo County, Indiana for two years. Subsequently, he worked in his family’s meatpacking business and in the overalls manufacturing industry.

At age 40, Ehrmann left the business to write. When he began writing, he devoted every day to his work. Ehrmann wrote many poems, but his most famous ones are his 1927 prose poem “Desiderata”, Latin for “things desired” which didn’t achieve fame until after his death in 1945 and “A Prayer” in 1906. He often wrote on spiritual themes.