Garland, Hamlin

Garland, Hamlin,

1860–1940, American author, b. near West Salem, Wis. He grew up in the Middle Western farmlands, the region he later wrote about in verse, stories, and autobiography. His tales, collected as Main-travelled Roads (1891), Prairie Folks (1893), and Wayside Courtships (1897), were bitter pictures of the futility of farm lives. Besides realistic novels of the prairies—A Little Norsk (1892) and Rose of Dutcher's Coolly (1895), he wrote several propagandist novels, including Jason Edwards: An Average Man (1892), urging the single tax doctrine, and A Spoil of Office (1892), supporting the Populist party. Garland is perhaps best remembered for his two autobiographical works, A Son of the Middle Border (1917) and A Daughter of the Middle Border (1921; Pulitzer Prize). He was also the author of essays, a biography of President Grant (1898), and several books on spiritualism.


See biography by J. Holloway (1960, repr. 1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Garland, (Hannibal) Hamlin

(1860–1940) writer; born in West Salem, Wis. A largely self-educated farm worker, he went to Boston in 1884 and was encouraged in his writing by William Dean Howells. He returned to the Midwest in 1887 determined both to depict and better the life there, and some of his novels were little more than tracts promoting his political and economic views. He first gained attention for his stories and sketches collected in Main-Travelled Roads (1891) and became best known for his bleak novels debunking the pastoral image of farm life, including the semiautobiographical A Son of the Middle Border (1917) and A Daughter of the Middle Border (1921, Pulitzer Prize). Living in New York City after 1916 and in Los Angeles after 1929, he wrote little in his later years.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.