Ripley, George, 1802–80, American literary critic and author, b. Greenfield, Mass. After graduating from Harvard Divinity School in 1826, he entered the Unitarian ministry. He was one of the leaders of the transcendentalists and a contributor to their magazine, the Dial. In 1841 his interest in social reform led him to resign from the ministry and help found Brook Farm, where he remained as president until 1847. His edition, with F. H. Hedge, of Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature, in translation (14 vol., 1838–42), increased American knowledge of European literature. In his later life he became an influential literary critic on the New York Tribune, conducting the first regular book review department in a U.S. newspaper.
See biography by O. B. Frothingham (1882, repr. 1970); study by C. R. Crowe (1967).