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Josephine Jacobsen Edit Profile


Josephine Jacobsen, Canadian author. Recipient MacDowell Colony fellow; Yaddo fellow; American Academy Poets fellow, 1987; recipient Shelly Memorial award for life work PSA, 1993.


Jacobsen, Josephine was born on August 19, 1908 in Coburg, Ontario, Canada. Daughter of Joseph Edward and Octavis (Winder) Boylan.


Graduate, Roland Park Country School, 1926. Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), College Notre Dame Maryland, 1974. Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary), Goucher College, 1974.

Master of Divinity. (honorary), St. Mary's Seminary College, 1988. Degree (honorary), Johns Hopkins University, 1993.


Born in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, she moved with her family to New York at a young age. When she was fourteen, she moved to Maryland where she lived for the rest of her life. Jacobsen served as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress from 1971 to 1973 and as honorary consultant in American letters from 1973 to 1979.

She was a prolific writer of poems and short-stories into her ninth decade. Joseph Brodsky praised her poetry for its "reserve, stoic timbre, and its high precision" while William Meredith called her "post-cocious" for her prolific writing late in life. Jacobsen is the author of several collections of poetry and prose.

She received honorary doctorates from Goucher College, The College of Notre Dame in Maryland, Towson State University, and Johns Hopkins University. Jacobsen was also a fan of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team and wrote poems on her love of baseball.


  • She was appointed the twenty-first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1971. Among her awards are an Academy of American Poets fellowship and the 1997 Poets' Prize for In the Crevice of Time. She was inducted into The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994 and received the Robert Frost Medal for her Lifetime of achievement in poetry.



Member literature panel National Endowment for Arts, 1980-1984. Member American Academy Arts and Letters (Service to Literature award 1982, Lenore Marshall award for best book of poetry public in the United States in 1987, 1988), Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association (nominee Faulkner award for fiction 1990).


Daughter of Joseph Edward and Octavis (Winder) Boylan. M. Eric Jacobsen, March 17, 1932. 1 son, Erlend Ericsen.

Joseph Edward Boylan

Octavis (Winder) Boylan

Eric Jacobsen