Sherwood Anderson

From Ohio History Central

Sherwood Anderson was a prominent American author and journalist in the first half of the twentieth century.

Anderson was born on September 13, 1876, in Camden, Ohio. Anderson's family moved to Clyde, Ohio, and he spent most of his youth in that small town. When he was twenty years old, Anderson moved to Chicago, Illinois, and spent two years working at odd jobs. In 1898, he fought in the Spanish-American War. Upon completion of his military service, Anderson returned to Ohio and enrolled at Wittenberg University. He left Wittenberg after only a year. Anderson moved back to Chicago and began a career as an advertising writer.

In 1904, Anderson married the first of his four wives. His first three marriages ended in divorce. In 1912, he quit his job as president of the Anderson Manufacturing Company in Elyria, Ohio, and abandoned his wife and three children to begin a writing career in Chicago. Anderson formally divorced his first wife in 1916, the same year that he married his second wife and published his first novel, Windy McPherson's Son. Three years later, Anderson published his most famous novel. Winesburg, Ohio, was based on his youth in Clyde, and many of its residents took offense at Anderson's negative portrayal of the town and its people.

Throughout the 1920s, Anderson continued to write. Among his more popular works were Poor White (1920), The Triumph of the Egg (1921), Horses and Men (1923), Many Marriages (1923) and Dark Laughter (1925). In 1924, he married his third wife, only to separate from her in 1928. In 1927, Anderson purchased the Marion (Virginia) Publishing Company and became editor of two weekly newspapers. During this period, Anderson lived in Chicago, New Orleans, and near Troutdale, Virginia. He lived in Virginia for the remainder of his life, although he and his fourth wife traveled extensively after their marriage in 1933. Anderson died of peritonitis while on a trip with his wife to South America In 1941

Anderson's writing influenced a number of authors, including Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and William Faulkner. It was at Anderson's urging that Hemingway's and Faulkner's first novels were published.

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