I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do. I first received a handwritten copy of Desiderata (Latin for "things to be desired") in 1970, and have had a copy of it in my work space for many years. It was noted on my copy that the poem, dated 1692, and written by an unknown author, had been discovered in Old St. Paul's Church, Baltimore.
When I decided to put it up on my blog, I did a Google search of the poem to make sure that I had a correct copy. It was then I discovered that, although some reference books still claim Desiderata is thought to have been 'found' in Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, Max Ehrmann (1872-1945), a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, had apparently written the poem. Mr. Ehrmann copyrighted the poem in 1927, and, in 1954, his widow, Bertha K. Ehrmann, renewed the copyright. At her death in 1962, Max's widow bequeathed the copyright to her nephew, Richmond Wight, who subsequently assigned it to Robert L. Bell (dba Crescendo Publishing Company) in 1971, for an undisclosed fee. Unfortunately for Mr. Bell, a federal district court ruled on July 16, 1975, that Mr. Ehrmann had forfeited his right to have the copyright protected and the poem was now in the public domain. In a ruling on May 14, 1976, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision. Later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the 7th Circuit Court's ruling. You can read more about the history of Desiderata here.
Posted by Rick | April 27, 2005 05:58 AM