William Dean Howells
William Dean Howells was a prominent American editor, novelist, playwright and critic best known for his novels The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885) and A Traveler from Altruria (1894). In total, he wrote 36 novels and 12 books on travel, as well as several short stories, essays and poems. Nicknamed the “Dean of American Letters,” Howells was elected the first president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1908.
Stories of Ohio (1897) collects Howells’ vignettes related to the history of Ohio from the Ice Age through the Civil War. He writes in the preface of the first edition, “I have tried to possess the reader with a knowledge, in outline at least, of the history of the State from the earliest times.” Selections include lists of important Ohioans and soldiers, as well as a detailed recounting of the “wickedest deed in our history,” Gnandenhutten massacre, in which the Pennsylvania militia raped and murdered 96 Christian Lenape and Mohican men, women and children.
Howells died in 1920.
If you enjoyed Stories of Ohio, we suggest these Ohio side trips:
- Andrew Cayton’s Ohio: A History of a People
- Harriette Taylor Upton’s A History of the Western Reserve and Its People
- Eliese Colette Goldbach’s Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit