"Desiderata" was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). In 1956, the rector of Baltimore's St. Paul's Church anthologized the poem in a mimeographed pamphlet of inspirational writings for his congregation. Someone reprinting it later, separated from its original credit, erroneously described it as having been found in old St. Paul's Church dated 1692, misinterpreting the church letterhead. The year 1692 is in fact the founding date of St. Paul's Church and has nothing to do with the poem.
Mr. Ehrmann obtained a federal copyright (NO. 962402) on January 3, 1927. The copyright was bequeath to his widow, Bertha, upon his death in 1945. Bertha Ehrmann renewed the copyright in 1954 then bequeath it to her nephew, Richmond Wight, upon her death in 1962. Richmond Wight assigned the copyright for value to the Crescendo Publishing Co. in 1971 headed by Robert Bell. Books containing Desiderata are published by Crown Publishers and can be obtained through bookstores. Other permissions must be obtained from the owner of the copyright - Rorbert L. Bell, 427 South Shore Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34234.