Famous Essayists from the United States

List of notable or famous essayists from the United States, with bios and photos, including the top essayists born in the United States and even some popular essayists who immigrated to the United States. If you're trying to find out the names of famous American essayists then this list is the perfect resource for you. These essayists are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known essayist from the United States is included when available.

This list is made up of a variety of people, including Gore Vidal and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This historic essayists from the United States list can help answer the questions "Who are some American essayists of note?" and "Who are the most famous essayists from the United States?" These prominent essayists of the United States may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected American essayists.

Use this list of renowned American essayists to discover some new essayists that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
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  • Gore Vidal
    Dec. at 86 (1925-2012)
    • Birthplace: West Point, Contiguous United States, New York, Orange County, United States of America
    Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished ...more
  • Christopher Hitchens
    Dec. at 62 (1949-2011)
    • Birthplace: South East England, Eurasia, South West England, Dorset, United Kingdom
    Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was an English-American author, columnist, essayist, orator, journalist, and social critic. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor, or ...more
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Dec. at 78 (1803-1882)
    • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion ...more
  • Isaac Asimov
    Dec. at 72 (1920-1992)
    • Birthplace: Petrovichi, Russia
    Isaac Asimov (; c. January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. ...more
  • Langston Hughes
    Dec. at 65 (1902-1967)
    • Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri, United States of America
    James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young ...more
  • James Baldwin
    Dec. at 63 (1924-1987)
    • Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York
    James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of racial, ...more