Howard Sturgis

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Howard Sturgis
Howard Sturgis and William Haynes Smith on the steps with two dogs at Queen's Acres, Windsor, before 1920.jpg
Howard Sturgis and William Haynes Smith on the steps with two dogs at Queen's Acres, Windsor, before 1920
Born (1855-01-30)January 30, 1855
London, England
Died February 7, 1920(1920-02-07) (aged 65)
Windsor, Berkshire, England
Occupation novelist
Nationality British

Howard Overing Sturgis (January 30, 1855 – February 7, 1920) was an English-language novelist who wrote about same-sex love. Of American parentage, he lived and worked in Britain.


Howard Overing Sturgis was born in Britain on 30 January 1855, in London. He was born into an affluent New England American family: his father, Russell Sturgis, was Boston merchant and lawyer who became an executive of Baring's Bank. His mother was Julia Overing née Boit. An older half-brother was John Hubbard Sturgis. He had a brother, Julian, who also became a novelist.[1] His parents sent him to be educated at Eton College. He went on to study at the University of Cambridge.

Henry James, Edith Wharton and Howard Sturgis on the veranda at The Mount

He became a friend of the novelists Henry James and Edith Wharton.[2]

After the death of his mother in 1888 he moved with his lover, William Haynes-Smith, into a country house named Queen's Acre, near Windsor Great Park.[2]

Sturgis's first novel, Tim: A Story of School Life (1891), was published anonymously and was dedicated to the "love that surpasses the love of women." It describes the love of two youths at boarding-school. It was followed in 1895 by All that was possible, an epistolary novel about a retired actress. Sturgis's first two novels were successful as far as sales were concerned; but his third, Belchamber (1904), failed to gain the same plaudits.[2] Although Edith Wharton praised it, Henry James found it unsatisfactory,[3] and afterwards Sturgis went on to publish only one short story (1908), about a lesser writer driven suicidal by the criticism of a greater, and a memorial on his friend, Anne Thackeray.

He died on 7 February 1920.[3] After his death appreciations of him were published by A. C. Benson (1924), Edith Wharton (1934), E. M. Forster (1936) and George Santayana (1944), his cousin.His great-nephew is the journalist and novelist Henry Porter (journalist).


  • [Anonymously published], Tim: A Story of School Life (1891)
  • All That Was Possible (1895)
  • Belchamber (1904)
  • 'On the Pottlecombe Cornice', in Fortnightly Review (1908) [short story]


  • Boit, Robert Apthorp (2009). Chronicles of the Boit Family and Their Descendants and of Other Allied Families. Bibliobazaar. ISBN 978-1-113-65501-1. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Alan Hollinghurst, 'Don't ask Henry' [review of 2008 reissue of Belchamber], in London Review of Books; 30:19 (2008 October 9)
  • M. Seymour, A Ring of Conspirators: Henry James and his literary circle (1986)
  • E. Borklund, 'Howard Sturgis, Henry James and Belchamber ', in Modern Philology; 58 (1961), p. 255-269
  • George Santayana, Persons and Places (1944; repr. 1986)
  • E. M. Forster, 'Howard Overing Sturgis', in Abinger Harvest (1936), p. 121-129
  • Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance (1934; repr. 1985)
  • A. C. Benson, Memories and friends (1924)


  1. ^ Boit, p. 207
  2. ^ a b c The New York Review of Books
  3. ^ a b Borklund, Elmer. "Howard Sturgis, Henry James, and Belchamber". Modern Philology, Vol. 58, No. 4 (May, 1961)

External links[edit]