Albert Gorton Greene (1802-1867), Brown graduate in 1820, was born on February 10, 1802 in Providence. After graduation from Brown he studied law in the office of John Whipple, passed the bar in 1823, and began the practice of law. In 1832, on formation of the city government of Providence, he was named clerk of the city council and also of the municipal court. He held the first office until the year before his death, and the second office until 1857, when he was appointed judge of the court, an office he held until his death in Cleveland on January 3, 1867.
He was a leader in Providence literary circles, a friend of Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, a book collector, and editor of The Literary Journal and Weekly Register of Science and the Arts during the one year of its existence in 1833-34. He was the original owner of the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays, acquired after his death by Caleb Fiske Harris. In time his literary reputation came to rest on “Old Grimes is Dead,” a multi-stanza poem written when he was a sophomore at Brown and sung to the tune of “John Gilpin was a Citizen” (or equally well to “Auld Lang Syne"). This first verse was a borrowing from Mother Goose:
Old Grimes is dead–That good old manto which Greene added twelve more of this ilk:
We never shall see more
He used to wear a long black coat
All buttoned down before.
He lived at peace with all mankind,
In friendship he was true:
His coat had pocket-holes behind–
His pantaloons were blue.