Blanche Willis Howard

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Blanche Willis Howard.

Blanche Willis Howard (July 20, 1847 – October 7, 1898) (aka Blanche Willis Howard von Teuffel) was a best-selling American novelist who lived most of her productive years in southern Germany.


She was born and raised in Bangor, Maine and, after graduating from Bangor High School, spent a further year of schooling in New York City. She then lived for a year in Chicago with her sister Marion Howard Smith, who was married to Benjamin Fuller Smith, a son of former Maine Governor Samuel Emerson Smith.[1]

Howard's breakthrough novel was One Summer (Boston, 1875), set in the coastal town of Wiscasset, Maine. An 1877 edition of One Summer was illustrated by Augustin Hoppin.

In 1875, Howard went to Europe, having received an assignment from the Boston Evening Transcript for a series of articles. Her articles were published in the travelogue One Year Abroad (Boston, 1877). Howard settled in Stuttgart, Germany and continued to write novels, short fiction, poems, and essays. For two years, she was editor of Hallberger's Illustrated, an English-language magazine first edited by the German poet Ferdinand Freiligrath. To supplement her income, Howard supervised the European education of American girls in Stuttgart. Among her students were the three daughters of the actor Lawrence Barrett and the two daughters of Harriet Hubbard Ayer, founder of the cosmetics and patent medicine company Recamier Manufacturing. In 1890, Howard married Baron Julius von Teuffel, a court physician to King Charles I of Württemberg, thereby becoming the Baroness von Teuffel. She died in Munich in 1898.[2][3][4]


Howard's publications, some of which were translated into European languages, include:

  • One Summer (Boston: James R. Osgood, 1875).
  • One Year Abroad (Boston: James R. Osgood, 1877).
  • Aunt Serena (Boston: James R. Osgood, 1877).
  • Guenn: A Wave on the Breton Coast (Boston: James R. Osgood, 1884).
  • Aulnay Tower (Boston: Ticknor & Company, 1885).
  • Tony, the Maid: A Novelette (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1887).
  • The Open Door (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1889).
  • A Battle and a Boy: A Story for Young People (New York: Tait, Sons, and Co., 1892).
  • A Fellowe and His Wife (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1893), authored with William Sharp.
  • No Heroes: A Story for Boys (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1893).
  • Seven on the Highway (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1897).
  • Dionysius, the Weaver's Heart's Dearest (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1899).
  • The Garden of Eden (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1900).[5]

Howard was one of only a handful of American novelists of this era to write from abroad, the iconic example being Henry James.

Howard was an accomplished pianist and Franz Liszt is said to have complemented her playing following a performance.[6]


  1. ^ Gustafson, Melanie (2010). "Legacy Profile: Blanche Willis Howard". Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Obituary notice". The New York Times. October 10, 1898. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ Dunbar, Olivia Howard (July 16, 1898). "Authors at Home, XXXI: Blanche Willis Howard in Dresden". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Blanche Willis Howard Married" ("From the Bangor (Me.) Commercial, Aug.4"). The New York Times. August 10, 1890. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Blanche Willis Howard (1847 - 1898)". Maine Writer's Index. Waterboro (ME) Public Library. June 6, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ 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. 

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