Henry Jackson Van Dyke was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1852, the son of a prominent Presbyterian minister and his wife. After graduating from Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, van Dyke served as a university lecturer, a minister, and ambassador for the United States to the Netherlands and Luxemburg, and a chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. A prolific and world-renowned writer and poet, van Dyke drew from his love of nature and religion to eloquently express his thoughts on the beauty of the outdoors, the nobility of mankind, and the need for righteousness to be preserved. He passed away at the age of eighty in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife, Ellen, and several of his nine children at his bedside.