More than a bit of folklore suggests Sinclair Lewis spent some time in Sherburne County, visiting family and, more importantly, writing. So, we have to sit, contemplate this lore, and consider any impact Lewis may have had on the area.
The first book published by Lewis, under the pseudonym
Tom Graham, Hike and the Aeroplane marked the beginning of a significant
career. Part of the folklore maintains
that after the publication of his book Main Street he was ostracized. He never set foot in Sauk Centre again. However, family members owned property and
lived in west Sherburne County.
In addition to Main Street, he went on to
publish Babbitt, Elmer Gantry, and a host of other works. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in
1930. The first writer in the United
States to win the award. Perhaps most
insightful, his 1935 publication of It Can’t Happen Here explores events
after a fascist wins the Presidential election.
He died at age 65 in Rome, Italy.
Yet, his writing career seemed prolific and impactful.
Because his life and travels remain difficult to
track, the folklore of Sinclair Lewis visiting and staying in Sherburne County remains
just that: folklore. Yet, we must wonder,
with Lewis growing up in Sauk Centre, his extended family living in Sherburne
County; did Sinclair Lewis influence the character and history of Sherburne