Minnesota Author Biographies.

Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis

From Main Street (1920) by Sinclair Lewis

On a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago, a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky. She saw no Indians now; she saw flourmills and the blinking windows of skyscrapers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Nor was she thinking of squaws and portages, and the Yankee fur-traders whose shadows were all about her. She was meditating upon walnut fudge, the plays of Brieux, the reasons why heels run over, and the fact that the chemistry instructor had stared at the new coiffure which concealed her ears.

Biographical Notes

Birth: February 7, 1885, Sauk Center, Minnesota
Death: January 10, 1951, Rome, Italy

Author Harry Sinclair Lewis left Sauk Center in 1903 to enter Yale University. He earned an A. B. from Yale in 1908. Lewis worked as a reporter for a number of publishing companies. He began publishing stories regularly in 1915. Recognition as a serious author began in 1920 with the publication of his novel Main Street (1920); his satirical treatment of the American small town, modeled on Sauk Center, was controversial. Arrowsmith (1925) won the Pulitzer Prize, but he turned it down. In 1930 he became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of his book Babbitt (1922). Lewis lived in Minneapolis and Duluth periodically. Six of Lewis’ twenty-two novels are set wholly or in part in Minnesota.

Selected Works
The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog. Please click on your browser's back button to return.

Ann Vickers
Cass Timberlane, a Novel of Husbands and Wives
Elmer Gantry
Free Air
The God-Seeker
Hike and the Aeroplane
I'm a Stranger Here Myself and Other Stories
The Innocents: A Story for Lovers
It Can't Happen Here
Jayhawker: A Play in Three Acts
The Job: An American Novel
Kingsblood Royal
Main Street
Our Mr. Wrenn: The Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man
The Trail of the Hawk

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Links

• Search MNHS LIbrary and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society’s library
Minnesota Historical Society Collections Online
Lewis Family Papers
The Minnesota Backgrounds of Sinclair Lewis' Fiction by John Theodore Flanagan
Sinclair Lewis, an American Life by Mark Schorer
Sinclair Lewis: A Descriptive Bibliography by Stephen R. Pastore
With Love from Gracie. Sinclair Lewis: 1912-1925 by Grace Hegger Lewis

Web Links

Nobel Prize in Literature 1930 - Nobelprize.org Sinclair Lewis page featuring a biography, an autobiography, Nobel lecture, bibliography, and a video clip
Saulk Herald - Sauk Center Herald Sinclair Lewis website
Sinclair Lewis - Biography
The Sinclair Lewis Society - Illinois State University Sinclair Lewis website
Celebrating Minnesota Author Sinclair Lewis - St. Cloud State University Sinclair Lewis website
Fantastic Fiction - Biography, bibliography, and book covers

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