The William Dean Howells Collection

Howells on a bench

William Dean Howells (1837-1920), American novelist, literary critic and editor.”

More than 600 volumes, one archival box + 120 manuscript letters, and a family tree

William Dean Howells (1837-1920), the son of a printer, began working as a typesetter and a printer’s apprentice before serving a term as city editor of the Ohio State Journal in 1858. He published poems, stories and reviews in Atlantic Monthly and other magazines and wrote for the Cincinnati Gazette and the Sentinel. He was awarded the post of U. S. Consul to Venice in 1861 for his service to the Lincoln campaign. After leaving Venice, Howells became assistant editor (1866-1871) and then editor (1871-1881) of the Atlantic Monthly. Although he wrote over a hundred books in various genres, including poems, literary criticism, plays, memoirs, and travel narratives, Howells is best known for his realistic fiction, including A Modern Stance (1881). Howells remained proud of his Ohio roots throughout his life. In the latter part of his career, he drew increasingly on life in Ohio in his autobiographic works (e.g., A Boy’s Town, 1890) and his novels (e.g., The Kentons, 1903). A staunch critic of racial intolerance, Howells was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

This collection includes correspondence sent by William Dean Howells between 1861 and 1918; poems written by Howells between 1858 and 1886; an undated manuscript titled “The Novels and Stories of Frank R. Stockton;” prints and photographs of Howells; copy negatives of personal photographs of Howells and his Hamilton, Ohio home; and miscellaneous newspaper articles, correspondence and manuscripts regarding Howells.

William Dean Howells Finding Aid (pdf)

William Dean Howells Society
William Dean Howells Bibliography (pdf)