Conrad Richter

The Ohio Connection

  • In 1910, at the age of twenty, Conrad Richter went to work as a private secretary for a wealthy family in Cleveland, Ohio. He would work there for fourteen years.
  • While in Cleveland, Richter published his first short story, “Brothers of No Kin,” in Forum magazine.
  • While he was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Richter’s neighbor, an Ohioan, provided him with two volumes of Howe’s Historical Collection of Ohio, “the most fascinating, authentic, and often firsthand accounts of pioneer life that I had ever read.” These books would provide the inspiration for Richter’s famous Ohio trilogy.
  • In 1940, Richter published The Trees, the first book in his “Ohio Trilogy” about the settling of the Ohio wilderness.
  • In 1947, he received the Ohioana Book Award for The Fields, the second book of his Ohio trilogy.
  • In 1951, Conrad Richter won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Town, the third book in his Ohio Trilogy.
  • In 1966, Richter compiled The Trees, The Fields, and The Town into one volume, called The Awakening Land. In the foreword Conrad writes of having set out “to try to impart to the reader a feeling of having lived for a while in those earlier days and of having come into contact, not with the sound and fury of dramatic historical events… but with the broader stuff of reality that was the lot of the great majority of men and women…”

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