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Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. Quotes:

Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Don’t flatter yourselves that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. On the contrary, the nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

I hate facts. I always say the chief end of man is to form general propositions – adding that no general proposition is worth a damn.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

I like children; I like ’em, and I respect ’em. Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by them.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

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Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man’s upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground-floor. But if a man hasn’t got plenty of good common sense, the more science he has, the worse for his patient.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

A woman never forgets her sex. She would rather talk with a man than an angel, any day.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Have the courage to act instead of react.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays the pleasing game of interchanging praise.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

A child’s education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Don’t be ‘consistent’, but be simply true.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn’t worth a damn.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have – Cincinnati sounds worse.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Who is Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. ?

Oliver Wendell Holmes (August 29, 1809-October 7, 1894) was a Boston-based American doctor, author, polymath.

A member of the Fireside Poets, he has been acclaimed as one of the best authors of the day by his peers. His most famous prose works are the series “Breakfast-Table” which began with The Breakfast-Table Autocrat (1858).

He was a major medical reformer too. In addition to his work as an author and poet, Holmes also worked as a physicist, educator, lecturer, and inventor, and he earned formal law training although he never studied it. Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and educated at Phillips Academy and Harvard College. He briefly studied law after graduating from Harvard in 1829, before turning to the medical profession.

At an early age, he started writing poetry; one of his most popular works, “Old Ironsides,” was published in 1830 and inspired the eventual preservation of the USS Constitution.

Holmes was awarded his Doctor of Medicine degree from Harvard Medical School in 1836 after training at the prestigious medical schools in Paris. Before returning to teach at Harvard he taught at Dartmouth Medical School and served as a dean there for a period.

He was an advocate for numerous medical improvements during his long professorship, and raised the controversial concept that doctors were able to bring puerperal fever from patient to patient in particular.

In 1882, Holmes graduated from Harvard and went on to write verse, novels and essays until his death in 1894. Surrounded by the literary elite of Boston — including friends like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Russell Lowell — Holmes has made an indelible imprint on the 19th-century literary world.

Numerous of his works have been published in The Atlantic Weekly, a magazine he called. He has received several honorary degrees from universities across the globe for his literary achievements and other accomplishments.

Holmes’ writing often commemorated his native Boston city, and much of it was intended to be humorous or talkative. Some of his medical writings were considered innovative for their time, notably his 1843 essay on the contagiousness of puerperal fever.

He was also summoned to issue occasional poetry, or poems written especially for an event, including several Harvard occasions. Holmes also made other terms popular including Boston Brahmin and anesthesia. He was the father of The Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.