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Hamlin Garland

In His Lifetime He was a Powerful Force
|in American Literary Affairs

Hamlin Garland is best remembered for his autobiographical series of "Middle Border" novels and stories. His work highlighted the frustrations and vicissitudes of American pioneer farm life. ■ Garland was born at West Salem, Wisconsin, on September 14, 1860. His mother was the daughter of Scottish immigrant Hugh McClintock. Garland was taken to Iowa at age 8 by his parents. There he attended public school and Cedar Valley Seminary at Osage. ■ He taught school in Illinois for a year before moving on to Boston in 1884 to pursue his literary career. He went to New York in 1892 and to Chicago a year later. ■ Garland's writings were notable for their bitter realism with little romanticism to cheer the reader.  These included Main Travelled Roads, Prairie Folks, and Wayside Courtships. His novel Rose of Dutcher's Cooley raised a storm of protest. ■ Garland turned to writing about the American Indian, and his stories remain one of the best of the early sympathetic appraisals of the Indian. ■ In 1917 he wrote an autobiographical relationship to the vanishing American frontier with A Son of the Middle Border. ■ This was followed by two other Middle Border novels, one of which, A Daughter of the Middle Border, earned him a Pulitzer prize for biography. ■ He wrote The Life of General Grant and many other novels, short stories, and magazine articles. Garland was considered a powerful influential force in American literary affairs during his lifetime although critical opinion became sharply divided. ■ He died March 4, 1940, in Los Angeles.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546