by Laura LaVoie, 2015 Childfree Woman of the Year
Following from my Part 1 of Men Without Children in History, here are a few more amazing men in history who didn’t have children. Like the others I have written about, while it is nearly impossible to tell if these men were NotDads by choice, it is an interesting look into the minds that developed our modern world.
- Freddie Mercury. While some of Mercury’s Rock n’ Roll peers are still having children – we’re looking at you, Mick Jagger – Freddie Mercury rejected the father paradigm. Many people may assume it was because he was a bisexual man in the 70s or because he died way too soon from AIDS complications. But there may have been more to it than that. Mercury was quoted as saying, “If I wanted children I’d just go to Harrods and buy one. They sell anything there. Buy two and you get a nanny thrown in!” And, “I’d love to have a baby, yes. But I’d rather have another cat.” In any case, his contribution to music was immeasurable.
- Edgar Allan Poe (above). One of America’s earliest great authors, Poe, is credited with creating the classic detective story as well as helping the new genre of Science Fiction grow. He was also one of the first authors to make a living solely from his writing, which resulted in many personal and financial difficulties. It may have been his marriage to a 13-year-old cousin who died at age 20 that influenced Poe’s life without children. Some of his most famous works have been attributed to his dark depression and erratic behavior after her death. Though he eventually struck up a relationship with an old flame, he never married again and had no children. Poe died at the age of forty.
- Nikola Tesla. This inventor has had a hard, posthumous road toward recognition. Another NotDad, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal, has helped bring Tesla’s story to light in the last few years by publishing comics on his contributions to science and raising money to buy his estate and turn it into a museum. Tesla himself never married and never had children, instead apparently choosing to focus on his research.
- Thomas Wolfe. I live in the Appalachian town of Asheville, North Carolina. Over the last few years it has become a popular tourist destination for our creative culture, epic nature, and craft beer scene. But I would be remiss if I didn’t include one of our most famous residents from history in this list of NotDads. Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again, is considered a key contributor to North Carolina’s literary scene. Visitors can still tour his mother’s boarding house in the heart of downtown Asheville. Though little consideration is given to Wolfe’s personal life, he died at the age of 38 having never marrying nor having children. But his legacy lives on, like so many men without children in history.
What NotDads of history have inspired you?
*Laura M. LaVoie is a writer, and the 2015 Childfree Woman of the Year.