William Dean Howells House (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Howells, William Dean, House
William Dean Howells House
|Architect||Howells,Mrs. William Dean; Groverstein,R.C.|
|Architectural style||Second Empire, Other|
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||April 13, 1982|
The William Dean Howells House is a house built and occupied by American author William Dean Howells and family. It is located at 37 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The house was designed by Howell's wife, Elinor Mead, and occupied by the family from 1873-1878. Authors including Mark Twain, Henry James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Thomas Bailey Aldrich visited the Howells in this house, as did President James Garfield, and Helen Keller lived there afterwards while attending school.
As early as August 1872, William Dean Howells wrote to his brother-in-law that he had purchased land on Concord Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts for 33 cents per square foot. The family moved into their new home there on July 7, 1873. Howells and his wife agreed it was "the prettiest house in Cambridge" and intended to live there for the rest of their lives.
After the death of his wife Elinor Mead Howells in May 1910, Howells considered moving back to the Concord Avenue home with his daughter Mildred. Without Mrs. Howells, however, they found it "dreadful in its ghostliness and ghastliness" and, further, that the area had become noisy since the addition of two trolley lines nearby.
Before moving to the Concord Avenue house, the Howells family had lived, from 1866 to 1872, in a house (built in 1857) a few blocks north of Harvard University, at 41 Sacramento Street in Cambridge.
In recent times, this house fell into very serious disrepair, but is now (in 2011) being restored by a local historic-restoration-specialist builder, after consultations with the City of Cambridge Historical Commission.
For a 2008 evaluation of the house by the Cambridge Commission, see http://www2.cambridgema.gov/Historic/L89_evaluation.pdf
Unlike the Concord Avenue house, the Sacramento Street house is not on the National Registory of Historic Places, but does have a city of Cambridge historic landmark designation.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- Goodman, Susan and Carl Dawson. William Dean Howells: A Writer's Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005: 184. ISBN 0-520-23896-6
- Goodman, Susan and Carl Dawson. William Dean Howells: A Writer's Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005: 181. ISBN 0-520-23896-6
- Lynn, Kenneth S. William Dean Howells: An American Life. New York: Harcout Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1970: 193. ISBN 0-15-142177-3
- Goodman, Susan and Carl Dawson. William Dean Howells: A Writer's Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005: 402. ISBN 0-520-23896-6
- William Dean Howells (1837-1920): Chronology
- William Dean Howells, Literary Friends and Acquaintance: A Personal Retrospect of American Authorship, Harper & Brothers, 1900, page 209.
- Helen Keller, The Story of My Life: Part II. Letters (1887–1901), Letter to Mrs. Laurence Hutton, October 8, 1896.
- The William Dean Howells Society http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/howells/index.html