browse cultural medallions

Sinclair Lewis

February 7, 1885 - January 10, 1951

The first U.S. writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature (1930), novelist and short story writer, Sinclair Lewis, born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, was a graduate of Yale University; his earliest published work was in the Yale Literary Magazine, where he became an editor. After college, he apprenticed as a journalist and writer of short stories; and lived here from 1910 to 1913 while working at New York publishing houses as a copywriter, and editor. After 1916, he began work on a realistic novel criticizing small town conformity that became the best seller, Main Street (1920), following that two years later with Babbitt, a satire of middle-class boosterism set in the Midwest. Several of Lewis' novels were adapted for the movies, including Arrowsmith (1925) (for which he won, but turned down, a Pulitzer Prize), Elmer Gantry (1927), and Dodsworth (1929), also a Broadway play. Lewis wrote eleven more novels after his Nobel Prize, most notoriously, It Can't Happen Here (1936), which envisioned fascism coming to America. It was staged nationally by the Federal Theater. Lewis died in Italy in 1951.

69 Charles Street, Manhattan
New York, NY 10014
Manhattan

More Information

We are currently in the process of adding to this profile. If you would like to contribute your own images please contact us to help complete this site.