Louis Bromfield

From Ohio History Central
Bromfield, Louis Writing Book.jpg
Author-conservationist Louis Bromfield writing a book to finance agricultural and social activities at Malabar Farm, Richland County, Ohio, August, 1948.

Louis Bromfield was a successful author and strong advocate of scientific agriculture and soil conservation.

Bromfield was born on December 27, 1896, near Mansfield, Ohio. He attended Cornell Agricultural College from 1914 to 1916, and then transferred to Columbia University to earn a degree in journalism. Bromfield left Columbia before graduating. During World War I, he joined the American Ambulance Corps with the French Army and served until 1919. After the end of World War I, Broomfield began a journalism career. He lived in New York City and wrote articles for several magazines.

In 1924, Bromfield wrote his first novel, The Green Bay Tree. Soon after completing this book, Bromfield moved to France, where he was acquainted with Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis. In 1926, Bromfield won the Pulitzer Price for a novel called Early Autumn. He continued to write fiction throughout the 1920s and early 1930s.

In 1939, Bromfield returned to Ohio and purchased Malabar Farm, near Mansfield. In his autobiography, Bromfield stated that he left Europe because, "I was sick of the troubles, the follies, and the squabbles of the Europe which I had known and loved so long. I wanted peace and I wanted roots for the rest of my life." Bromfield dedicated his life to agriculture and sought to create a farm that promoted soil conservation. He became famous for his conservation efforts and was posthumously elected to the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. Bromfield continued to write books and articles. His later books, including Pleasant Valley, focused on soil conservation and other farming issues. He continued to socialize with prominent artists, including Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. The two actors were married at Malabar Farm in 1945.

Bromfield died on March 18, 1956. One of his daughters, Ellen Bromfield Carson, continued her father's conservation efforts. Malabar Farm is now a state park.

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