On August 19, 1908, Josephine Jacobsen was born in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. A poet, short story writer, and critic, she was educated by private tutors at the Roland Park Country School, where she graduated in 1926.
She served as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1971 to 1973, as well as Honorary Consultant in American Letters to the Library from 1973 to 1979. Between 1978 and 1979, she was Vice President of the Poetry Society of America. She was a member of both the literature panel for the National Endowment of the Arts and of the poetry committee of Folger Library from 1979 to 1983.
Jacobsen wrote numerous collections of poetry, including In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems (John Hopkins University Press, 1995); The Chinese Insomniacs: New Poems (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981); The Shade-Seller: New and Selected Poems (Doubleday, 1974); and The Animal Inside (Ohio University Press, 1966).
Her awards and honors include an Academy of American Poets fellowship; honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Goucher College, The College of Notre Dame in Maryland, Townson State University, and Johns Hopkins University; and the Shelley Memorial Award for lifetime service to literature, among others. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994.
Josephine Jacobson died on July 9, 2003.