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Hamlin Garland
American novelist, poet, essayist, short story writer, Georgist, and psychical researcher. He is best known for his fiction involving hard-working Midwestern farmers


Hannibal Hamlin Garland was born on a farm near West Salem, Wisconsin, on September 14, 1860, the second of four children of Richard Garland of Maine and Charlotte Isabelle McClintock. The boy was named after Hannibal Hamlin, the candidate for vice-president under Abraham Lincoln. He lived on various Midwestern farms throughout his young life, but settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1884 to pursue a career in writing.

He read diligently in the Boston Public Library. There he became enamored with the ideas of Henry George, and his Single Tax Movement. George's ideas came to influence a number of his works, such as Main-Travelled Roads (1891), Prairie Folks (1892), and his novel Jason Edwards (1892).

Main-Travelled Roads was his first major success. It was a collection of short stories inspired by his days on the farm. He serialized a biography of Ulysses S. Grant in McClure's Magazine before publishing it as a book in 1898. The same year, Garland traveled to the Yukon to witness the Klondike Gold Rush, which inspired The Trail of the Gold Seekers (1899). He lived on a farm between Osage, and St. Ansgar, Iowa for quite some time. Many of his writings are based on this era of his life.

In Illinois, Garland married Zulime Taft, the sister of sculptor Lorado Taft, and began working as a teacher and a lecturer.

A prolific writer, Garland continued to publish novels, short fiction, and essays. In 1917, he published his autobiography, A Son of the Middle Border. The book's success prompted a sequel, A Daughter of the Middle Border, for which Garland won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. After two more volumes, Garland began a second series of memoirs based on his diary. Garland naturally became quite well known during his lifetime and had many friends in literary circles. He was made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1918.

After moving to Hollywood, California, in 1929, he devoted his remaining years to investigating psychic phenomena, an enthusiasm he first undertook in 1891. In his final book, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses (1939), he tried to defend such phenomena and prove the legitimacy of psychic mediums.

A Son of the Middle Border
By Hamlin Garland (1922) (pdf)

And the sequel...

A Daughter of the Middle Border
By Hamlin Garland (1922) (pdf)


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