Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Foss, Sam Walter

Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911), librarian and poet, was born in Candia, New Hampshire, on June 19, 1858. He graduated from Brown in 1882, and was considered one of Brown’s illustrious graduates (his name is on the mace), although his name is not often recognized today. At Brown he was chosen class poet in 1882. After graduation he became editor of the Lynn Union and writer of a humorous column. In 1887 he was editor of the Yankee Blade, a literary weekly in Boston. He was librarian of the Somerville (Mass.) Public Library from 1898 until his death on February 26, 1911 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He used to write a poem a day for the newspapers, and his five volumes of collected poetry are of the frank and homely “common man” variety. He is best known for his poem, “The House by the Side of the Road,” which ends:
  “Let me live in a house by the side of the road
  And be a friend to man.”