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William D. Howells

William D. Howells


William Dean Howells (March 1, 1837 - May 11, 1920) was an American realist writer, literary critic, and playwright nicknamed The Dean of American Letters. He was particularly known for his tenure as editor of The Atlantic Monthly, as well as for his own fruitful writings, including the Christmas novel Christmas Every Day and the novels The Silas Lapham Rise and The Traveler from Altruria. William Dean Howells was born March 1, 1837 in Martinsville, Ohio (now known as Martins Ferry, Ohio), in the family of William Cooper Howells and Mary Dean Howells, the second of eight children. His father was a newspaper editor and printer who often traveled around Ohio. In 1840, the family settled in Hamilton, Ohio, where his father watched the Whig newspaper and followed Swedenborgianism. Their nine years were the longest period when they remained in one place. The family had to live modestly, although the young Howells was encouraged by his parents in his literary interests. He began at an early age to help his father in typing and typing, a work known as the devil printer. In 1852, his father agreed to publish one of his poems in the Ohio State Journal without telling him. In 1860, Howells wrote Abraham Lincoln's campaign biography, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, and subsequently received consulate in Venice. He married Eleanor Mead on Christmas Eve 1862 at the American Embassy in Paris. She was the sister of sculptor Larkin Goldsmith Mead and architect William Rutherford Mead of McKim, Mead and White. Among their children was architect John Mead Howells.