"My recollection of a hundred lovely lakes has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful." -- Hamlin Garland
Hannibal Hamlin Garland (September 14, 1860 — March 4, 1940) was an American novelist, poet, essayist, and short story writer. He is best known for his fiction involving hard-working Midwestern farmers.
"I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.""There is no gilding of setting sun or glamor of poetry to light up the ferocious and endless toil of the farmers' wives.""Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy."
Born in West Salem, Wisconsin, he lived on various Midwestern farms throughout his young life, but settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1884 to pursue a career in writing. His first success came in 1891 with Main-Traveled Roads, a collection of short stories inspired by his days on the farm. He serialized a biography of Ulysses S. Grant in McClure's Magazine before publishing it as a book in 1898. The same year, Garland traveled to the Yukon to witness the Klondike Gold Rush, which inspired The Trail of the Gold Seekers (1899). He lived on a farm between Osage, and St. Ansgar, Iowa for quite some time. Many of his writings are based on this era of his life.
A prolific writer, Garland continued to publish novels, short fiction, and essays. In 1917, he published his autobiography, A Son of the Middle Border. The book's success prompted a sequel, A Daughter of the Middle Border, for which Garland won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. After two more volumes, Garland began a second series of memoirs based on his diary. Garland naturally became quite well known during his lifetime and had many friends in literary circles.
After moving to Hollywood, California in 1929, he devoted his remaining years to investigating psychic phenomena, an enthusiasm he first undertook in 1891. In his final book, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses (1939), he tried to defend such phenomena and prove the legitimacy of psychic mediums.
Garland died at age 79, at his home in Hollywood, and was buried in Neshonoc Cemetery in West Salem, Wisconsin.
The Hamlin Garland House in West Salem is a historical site.