"...and touch the universal heart."
Literary Associates

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It was the Golden Age of Indiana Literature (1871-1921). The literary scene was peopled with authors and poets whose endeavors fueled Indianapolis as a major center of publishing in the Midwest, rivaling the New York houses. Riley's Indiana circle included authors Booth Tarkington, Meredith Nicholson, Mary Hartwell Catherwood, and Lew Wallace, poetess Evaleen Stein, journalists Hamlin Garland and George Ade, and editor Hewitt Howland. He was an active participant of the Western Association of Writers which met annually in northern Indiana. Non-hoosiers such as Rudyard Kipling, William D. Howells, George Cable, Eugene Field, humorists Bill Nye and Robert Burdette, and historian John Clark Ridpath were also friends. Riley wrote feverishly during the 1870s and 1880s, sometimes on scraps of paper. His position as columnist at the Indianapolis Journal (1877-1885) provided him the opportunity to publish his poetry under a variety of pseudonyms. The poems written during this period would translate into a remarkable publishing record in the 1890s.