Sepia colored image of James Whitcomb Riley wearing a suit and glasses.
Souvenir from James Whitcomb Riley's Birthplace Greenfield, Indiana
James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916), born in Greenfield, IN, was a writer and poet famous for his works "Little Orphant Annie" and "The Raggedy Man." Riley authored approximately one thousand poems, the majority are in dialect; he was thus known as "the Hoosier Poet." He was sometimes mentioned as "the Children's Poet," because his works appealed to a younger audience. "Little Orphant Annie," his most prominent children's poem, later inspired the comic strip Little Orphan Annie in 1920s and 30s, which introduced the character Annie into American households. Riley was considered as an Americana author for his depiction of America as a tranquil, wholesome, eccentric, sentimental and bucolic society, and the frequent celebratory imagery of American people in his works. Regularly struggling with alcohol addiction, Riley never married or had children and created a scandal in 1888 when he became too drunk to perform poetry reading during his touring circuits. Nonetheless, Riley was one of Americans' favorite authors; thousands of people showed up for his funeral.