Bird, Stephen Moylan (1897–1919)

By: Sonja Fojtik

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Stephen Moylan Bird, poet, was born on October 12, 1897, in Galveston, Texas, the son of John Moylan and Alice Otis (Jones) Bird and a direct descendent of Revolutionary War general Stephen Moylan. He completed high school at the age of sixteen and wished to become a naturalist but was forced by straitened circumstances to work instead in railroading and as a clerk on the cotton exchange. In leisure moments he began to write brief lyrics, using streetcar transfers and the backs of envelopes for his manuscript paper. In the winter of 1917–18 he submitted some poems that were accepted for Contemporary Verse by the editor, Charles Wharton Stork, who described the young poet as an "American Keats" with poetic gifts that still needed to mature. Bird enlisted in 1918 as a naval recruit during World War I and was sent to the Great Lakes for training. In October 1918 he became a cadet at West Point but felt the environment to be oppressive, and on January 1, 1919, he was found dead in his room, apparently a suicide. A posthumous collection of his verses, In the Sky Garden, was published in 1922 by Yale University Press; it contained a number of imaginative lyrics on nature and one or two realistic poems.

Leonidas Warren Payne, Survey of Texas Literature (New York: Rand McNally 1928).
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Poets

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sonja Fojtik, “Bird, Stephen Moylan,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994