Max Ehrmann was an American writer from Terre Haute in Indiana. Born on 26 September 1872, Ehrmann was of German descent his parents emigrated from Bavaria to America in the 1840s. The young writer received his degree in English from DePauw University in Greencastle in 1894. During his period in the school, Ehrmann became a member of the fraternity Delta Tau Delta's Beta Beta chapter and was the editor of the college newspaper, Depauw Weekly.
Following that, Ehrmann went onto Harvard University where he double-majored in Philosophy and Law. Upon returning to Terre Haute in 1898, the talented writer started practicing law, becoming the deputy state's attorney for 2 years. It wasn't however till he was 40 that Ehrmann began to write professionally, where his output was prolific but not widely appreciated. At age 54, he wrote Desiderata, his most famous work which achieved fame only after his death.
Completed in 1927, Desiderata is a prose poem urging the reader to be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be and be at peace with your soul. Ehrmann wrote, It is still a beautiful world even with all its sham, drudgery and broken dream. As Ehrmann became famous only after his death, there was much confusion surrounding the origin of the text that he had written.
Ehrmann died in 1945 and was buried in the Highland Lawn Cemetery in his hometown. Recently, on 26 August 2010, a bronze statue of Ehrmann by sculptor Bill Wolfe was erected in a park in Indiana in honour of the author's work. The statue depicts him sitting cross-legged on a downtown bench, pen in hand and notebook in his lap, while the prose from Desiderata is engraved on a plaque next to the statue and in the walkway.