Blanche Willis Howard

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Blanche Willis Howard (1847- October 7, 1898) (aka Blanche Willis Howard von Teufel) was a best-selling American novelist who lived most of her productive years in southern Germany. Born and raised in Bangor, Maine, and a graduate of Bangor High School, her family (the Howards) were among the earliest settlers of that community. Her breakthrough novel was One Summer (Boston, 1875), set in the coastal town of Wiscasset, Maine. In 1877 she went to Germany on assignment to write travel articles for the Boston Evening Transcript and stayed there the rest of her life, settling in Stuttgart and opening a finishing school for American girls abroad. Eventually she married (in 1890) Baron von Teufel, the court physician to King Charles I of Württemberg, thereby becoming the Baroness von Teufel. She died in Munich in 1898.[1][2][3]

Howard wrote a total of 14 books, most of them novels, and with the exception of One Summer, all were written in Germany and sent to Boston and New York publishers. Some were also translated into European languages. She was one of only a handful of American novelists of this era to write from abroad, the iconic example being Henry James, and is credited with helping encourage an American enthusiasm for European travel. Her most notable books were One Year Abroad (Boston, 1877); Aunt Serena (Boston, 1881); Guenn: A Wave on the Breton Coast (Boston, 1884); Aulney Tower (Boston, 1886); Tony, the Maid (a novelette first published serially in Harper's); The Open Door (Boston and New York, 1889); and Seven on the Highway (1897), a collection of short stories. Her best novel is said to be one of her last, Dionysius the Weaver's Heart's Desire (published posthumously in 1899).[4]

Howard was also an accomplished pianist and a friend of Richard Wagner. Franz Liszt is said to have complemented her playing following a performance.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Obituary notice". The New York Times. October 10, 1898. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ Dunbar, Olivia Howard (July 16, 1898). "Authors at Home, XXXI: Blanche Willis Howard in Dresden". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Blanche Willis Howard Married" ("From the Bangor (Me.) Commercial, Aug.4"). The New York Times. August 10, 1890. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Blanche Willis Howard (1847 - 1898)". Maine Writer's Index. Waterboro (ME) Public Library. June 6, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ James, Edward T., ed. (c. 1971). "Howard, Blanche Willis". Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary 1607-1950. II: G-O. James, Janet Wilson; Boyer, Paul S. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 223–224. ISBN 0-674-62734-2.