- NAME: Jean Toomer
- OCCUPATION: Author, Playwright, Poet
- BIRTH DATE: December 26, 1894
- DEATH DATE: March 30, 1967
- Did You Know?: Jean Toomer is the grandson of Pinckney Pinchback, the first person of African-American descent to become a U.S. governor.
- Did You Know?: Jean Toomer dated Georgia O'Keeffe
- EDUCATION: University of Wisconsin, Massachusetts College of Agriculture, American College of Physical Training at Chicago, University of Chicago, City College of New York, New York University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Washington, D.C.
- PLACE OF DEATH: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
- Full Name: Jean Toomer
- Originally: Nathan Pinchback Toomer
- AKA: Eugene Pinchback Toomer
- AKA: Jean Pinchback Toomer
- AKA: N. Jean Toomer
- AKA: Nathan Jean Toomer
- AKA: Eugene Pinchback
- AKA: Eugene Toomer
Best Known For
Jean Toomer was a poet, playwright, novelist and short-story writer. His first novel, Cane, was an inspiration for many Harlem Renaissance writers.
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Though Toomer broke away from Gurdjieff in 1935, that did not end his search for spiritual answers. He became interested in the Quaker religion in 1938, visited India the next year to examine that country's spiritual offerings, then joined the Quakers in 1940. Later in life,
he explored Jungian analysis and L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics before once again embracing Gurdjieff's philosophy in 1953.
Toomer's spiritual undertakings also affected his writing. He penned a book of aphorisms inspired by Gurdjieff, Essentials (1931), that was privately printed. While active with the Society of Friends, he produced many pieces about Quakerism.
An ill Toomer spent the end of his life in a nursing home. He died at age 72 on March 30, 1967, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Reprinted in 1967, Cane received even more acclaim after his death.
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