William Humphrey (writer)

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William Humphrey (June 18, 1924 – August 20, 1997) was an American novelist who wrote about small-town family life in rural Texas.


Born in Clarksville, Texas in 1924, Humphrey moved with his mother to Dallas at aged 13 after his father was killed in a car accident. He attended Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas, but did not graduate from either school.

Humphrey taught at Bard College in New York where he mentored playwright and author Sherman Yellen prior to retiring from academia to write full-time. He died of cancer in 1997, at the age of 73, in Hudson, New York.[1]


The author of thirteen books, including five novels, collections of short stories and a memoir, Humphrey's first novel, Home from the Hill, was made into an 1960 MGM film, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Robert Mitchum and Eleanor Parker. His second novel, The Ordways, was reviewed by the New York Times as "Funny, vivid and moving, this is a fine piece of work and a delight to read," and was compared to the writings of William Faulkner and Mark Twain.


  • Home from the Hill (1957)
  • The Ordways (1965)
  • Proud Flesh (1973)
  • Farther Off From Heaven (1977) A Memoir
  • Hostages to Fortune (1984)
  • No Resting Place (1989)
  • September Song (collection of short stories) (1992)
Nature writings
  • The Spawning Run
  • My Moby Dick

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mark Royden Winchell, William Humphrey, Boise State University, Boise, 1992.
  • Bert Almon, William Humphrey: Destroyer of Myths, University of North Texas Press, Denton, 1998.


  1. ^ Gussow, Mel (August 21, 1997). "William Humphrey, 73, Writer Of Novels About Rural Texas (obituary)". The New York Times. Retrieved June 21, 2010. 

External links[edit]