Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Hingham Cemetery, 12 South St, Hingham, MA 02043
Dr. Martin Gay (February 11, 1803 – January 12, 1850) was a distinguished chemist in Boston. Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the most influentail American thinkers of the XIX century; as an essayist, poet and lecturer, he philosophized about the relationship between man and God, and was a leader of the trascendental movement. As a student at Harvard, Emerson' attention was drawn to a young scholar, Martin Gay. Though he later excised portions of the text, Emerson's 1821 journal is full of statements of affections for Gay, as well as a "memory sketch" portrait. Gay "haunted" Emerson's thoughts for over two years. In 1822 Emerson wrote, "It is with difficulty that I can now recall those sensations of vivid pleasure which his presence was wont to waker spontaneously."
He was the son of Ebenezer Gay (1771-1842) and Mary Allyne Otis (1780-1866). In the fall of 1819 at Harvard a young Ralph Waldo Emerson found himself strangely and powerfully attracted by Gay, a new freshman, at whom he found himself looking and looking, and Gay, it would seem, looking back. The day before his death, in conversation with a friend, Gay attributed his disease to poison, contracted from handling the remains, at the Harvard Medical College, believed to be those of the late Dr. Parkman. Gay is buried at Hingham Cemetery.
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