An American writer, poet, journalist, and minister who is considered one of the most prolific American writers of the 19th century. The complete collection of his works is in the order of one hundred volumes. He was born in the family of a Unitarian minister. He graduated from high school in Marlborough, where he moved with his family. He graduated cum laude from Harvard, specializing in classical philology, philosophy, and theology. Also there at Harvard, he was a member of the student fraternity Psi Beta Kappa. He fought in the Civil War as a member of the Union Army. In December 1864, Elger was ordained to the priesthood and received a parish in Brewster, Massachusetts, as pastor while continuing to write literary works.