Dawn Powell

The Ohio Connections

  • Dawn Powell was born at 53 West North Street in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, in 1896. Her parents, Roy King Powell and Hattie Sherman Powell, were both from the Mt. Gilead area.
  • In 1903, Dawn’s mother died in Shelby, Ohio.
  • From 1904 to 1906, Dawn lived with a series of relatives living in Central Ohio.
  • In 1907, Dawn’s father remarried and the family settled in a farmhouse outside Cleveland, Ohio.
  • After her stepmother burned her diaries and early writings in 1910, Dawn ran away from home and found refuge with aunt Orpha May Sherman Steinbrueck in Shelby, Ohio.
  • Dawn attended Shelby High School.
  • From 1914 to 1918, Dawn matriculated at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.
  • Dawn graduated from Lake Erie College in 1918 and moved to Connecticut, and then Manhattan, where she would remain for the rest of her life.
  • In 1930, Dawn’s book Dance Night was published. It was set in a rough Ohio town and explored lovelessness through the discontented son of a traveling salesman and an orphan whom he befriended. Dawn considered this novel to be her best work.
  • In 1941, she began working on the novel My Home is Far Away, based on her childhood and set in Ohio.
  • In 1944, My Home is Far Away was published and dedicated to her cousin John Franklin Sherman, who was also raised by Orpha May Steinbrueck and was serving overseas at the time.
  • In 1964, Dawn returned to Lake Erie College to lecture, meet with students, and deliver a graduation address.

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