Books Set in Michigan – Michigan Upper Peninsula Novels – Books Set in Detroit

Them – Historical Fiction Set in Detroit

Oates, Joyce Carol
Vanguard 1969

As powerful and relevant today as it was on its initial publication, them chronicles the tumultuous lives of a family living on the edge of ruin in the Detroit slums, from the 1930s to the 1967 race riots. Praised by The Nation for her “potent, life-gripping imagination,” Joyce Carol Oates traces the aspirations and struggles of Loretta Wendall, a dreamy young mother who is filled with regret by the age of sixteen, and the subsequent destinies of her children, Maureen and Jules, who must fight to survive in a world of violence and danger.
Winner of the National Book Award, Them is an enthralling novel about love, class, race, and the inhumanity of urban life. It is, raves The New York Times, “a superbly accomplished vision.” Fiction / Urban, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Coming of Age, Poor women — Fiction, Working class families — Fiction, Domestic fiction, Detroit (Mich.) — Fiction.

Author notes: Joyce Carol Oates was born in 1938 and grew up in Millersport, NY, a farming community. She went to Syracuse University on scholarship, where she trained herself by writing novel after novel, throwing each away when she finished. She was valedictorian of her graduating class in 1960, and then earned an M.A. at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Oates was teaching at the Univ. of Detroit when she published her first novel in 1964. She later had a faculty position across the river in Windsor, Canada, and in 1978 accepted a position at Princeton, where she stayed until retirement. Over the years she has received many awards and prizes for her books.

Robert Cavelier: the Romance of the Sieur de La Salle and his Discovery of the Mississippi River – Michigan Historical Fiction

Orcutt, William Dana
London: Heinemann 1904

Robert Cavelier de la Salle, from the real character as portrayed in Parkman’s La Salle and Jesuits in North America, and from original documents in archives in Paris. Characters include Frontenac, Louis XIV, Mme. de Maintenon, Mme. de Montespan, Joliet, Tonty. Pictures early life at Montreal and Quebec, and the struggles of the Jesuits for the temporal control of Canada, aided by their influence with the Indians. The magnificent and heroic work of the missionaries and their martyrdom is brought out in contrast with the struggle of their order to gain power. The scenes shift from Paris to North America and Versailles, and culminate in the discovery of the Mississippi by La Salle. – Guide to Historical Fiction. America — Discovery and exploration — French — Fiction, Explorers — Fiction, Mississippi River — Fiction — Discovery and exploration — French, French fiction — Mississippi River Valley.

Author notes: William Dana Orcutt (1870-1953) was born in New Hampshire, was a graduate of Harvard, and had a career in designing and making books in Massachusetts. He was the first president of the Boston Society of Printers, which was inspired by the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement. He also wrote about printing, reviewed and translated articles, and researched and wrote history. -Wikipedia

See the resources on this site for: La Salle the Explorer

The Citadel of the Lakes – Mackinac Island Historical Fiction

Orr, Myron David
Dodd 1952

“The reader relives the turbulent and hazardous days when England and the United States contended for the prize of Mackinac Island and the control of the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. Myron David Orr has taken as his central point, the fur trader, John Jacob Astor, who, because of his insatiable lust for money, betrays his country and eliminates all those traders who defy him in his conquest of the Northwest Territory fur trade. The sinister influence of Astor dominates and encompasses the lives of all the people of this pioneer outpost, causing disastrous results to the armed forces of the United States, as well as personal tragedies to the families themselves. Out of a lifetime spent on the scene, and 25 years of research gathering original letters and military reports, Mr. Orr has presented an authentic picture of intrigue, love, violence, and hate.” -Publisher. Fur trade — Fiction — Michigan — Mackinac Island, Mackinac Island (Mich.) — Fiction.

Mission to Mackinac – Mackinac Island Historical Fiction Book

Orr, Myron David
Dodd 1956

Story of English-French conflict in the area of Mackinac Island prior to the War of 1812. Fur trade — Fiction — Michigan — Mackinac Island, Mackinac Island (Mich.) — History — Fiction.

Author notes: Dr. Myron David Orr (1831-1891) was raised and educated in Genesee County, NY, being trained as a medical doctor. In 1854 he moved to Michigan and joined a medical practice in Flint. In 1864 he moved his family to a farm in Almer (thumb area), and raised fruit. He also served in a number of local government positions, including school inspector, justice of the peace, and probate judge. He published at least five novels in the genre of Michigan historical fiction.

The Boy Spies at the Siege of Detroit: a Story of the Ohio boys in the War of 1812 – Juvenile Historical Fiction Set in Michigan

Otis, James
NY: Burt 1904

An adventure for boys by the author of Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus. United States — History — Juvenile fiction — War of 1812, Detroit (Mich.) — History — Surrender to the British, Indians of North America — Juvenile fiction.

Author notes: James Otis Kaler (1848-1912) was born in Maine, and spent much of his career as a journalist. His first published book, in 1880, was ‘Toby Tyler; or, Ten Weeks with a Circus’, which was very successful. In 1960 Disney made it into a movie. Kaler continued to write children’s books under several pen names; nearly 200 books in all, although scholars believe some of the later books for young children may have been written by his wife. He was appointed Superintendent of Schools in South Portland, Maine in 1898.

The Power and the Glory: a Romance of the Great La Salle – Historical Fiction Books about the Great Lakes

Parker, Gilbert
NY: Harper 1925

Author notes: Sir Horatio Gilbert George Parker, 1st Baronet (1862-1932) was born in Camden East, Ontario. He began his career by teaching, then went to Australia in 1886 where he edited a newspaper and traveled extensively. By the early 1890s he was gaining a reputation as an author of fiction. He is largely remembered today for his historical novels about Canada, and for his poetry. In addition to writing many popular novels, Parker was a politician, serving in the British House of Commons from 1900 to 1918. At Parker’s funeral one of the honorary pallbearers was the Prime Minister of Canada. -Wikipedia

See the resources on this site for: La Salle the Explorer

Sword of the Old Frontier: a Tale of Fort Chartres and Detroit. Being a Plain Account of Sundry Adventures Befalling Chevalier Raoul de Coubert, One Time Captain in the Hussars of Languedoc, During the Year 1763 – Historical Fiction Set in Detroit

Parrish, Randall
Chicago: McClurg. 1905

A plain account of sundry adventures befalling Chevalier Raoul de Coubert, one time captain in the Hussars of Languedoc, during the year 1763, in which he gallantly draws his sword for France and his English lady-love in the stirring times of Pontiac’s conspiracy. Meeting with treachery from both white men and red, he takes desperate chances, escapes from his enemies and wins honor, wealth, and love. – Book Review Digest. United States — Fiction — History — French and Indian War, 1754-1763.

Author notes: George Randall Parrish (1858-1923) grew up in Kewanee, Illinois and began a legal career in Wichita, Kansas. In the early 1880s he left his law practice and worked at a number of odd jobs throughout the west, eventually becoming a newspaper reporter. This was one of many adventure stories he published. See the Illinois Fiction page on this site for more.

North of Saginaw Bay – Books Set in Michigan

Petersen, E. J. (Pete)
Sand Lake, MI: Tall Timber 1952

“In North of Saginaw Bay, E. J. (Pete) Petersen, himself an old-time lumberman and timber-cruiser, retells and relives for the reader those days when Michigan’s now famous resort and vacationland resounded to the ring of the lumberman’s axe and the crash of falling timber. In this story of young Clay Woods and his desperate uphill battle for justice, the reader will form an intimate acquaintance with the rugged pioneers, their friends among the Indians, like Chief Green-sky, and the many other characters who made frontier life colorful, such as the gnarled little preacher who become one of the heroes of the tale.” -Book jacket

The White Squaw; A Sequel to “North of Saginaw Bay” – Books Set in Michigan

Petersen, E. J. (Pete)
Sand Lake, MI: Tall Timber 1954

See the entry above.

Once a Wilderness – Fiction Books about the Michigan Frontier

Pound, Arthur
NY: Reynal & Hitchcock 1937

“The changing background of our state [Michigan] from agriculture to industry is exemplified in this story of the Mark family, pioneer farmers in the vicinity of Pontiac.”
“This engaging family chronicle, opening in 1890, has for its background Mark section the 640 acre Michigan farm owned by Captain John Mark, on which he and all of his children and their families still lived. Farm activities, especially cattle breeding, make a vivid background, but the lively story is about the Marks themselves, especially the lusty and vigorous patriarch, Captain John.”- Bkl. Pontiac (Mich.) — Fiction.

Author notes: Arthur Pound (1884-1966) was born in Pontiac, MI and made his living mainly as an editor and editorial writer at newspapers for many years. In 1935 he was made a research professor of American History at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, and from 1940 to 1944 he was the State Historian and Director of Archives and History in New York. He published at least ten historical books, including a couple of industrial histories, and corporate histories of General Motors and General Electric.

The Adventures of Captain McCargo – Fiction Books about the Great Lakes

Ratigan, William
NY: Random House 1956

“Dashing Great Lakes Captain matches wits with danger from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula.” Great Lakes (North America) — Fiction, Shipping — Fiction — Great Lakes.

Author notes: William Ratigan (1910-1984) grew up in Detroit. In college he was an all-Dixie quarterback at the University of Chattanooga, and then became a respected radio journalist, holding important positions at NBC during WWII. After the war be brought his family back to Michigan, buying a home in Charlevoix, MI, where he operated a tiny used bookstore in a converted fishing shanty and wrote books. His most popular book was ‘Great Lakes Shipwrecks and Survivals’. -Charlevoix Courier

Wacousta; or, The Prophecy: A Tale of the Canadas – Historical Fiction Set in Michigan

Richardson, John
London: Cadell 1832

A renegade Englishman allied with the Ottawa Chief Pontiac seeks revenge on the daughter of the woman he could not have. Set in Detroit and Michilimackinac in 1763.* Pontiac’s Conspiracy, 1763-1765 — Fiction.

Author notes: John Richardson (1796-1852) was born in Queenston, Ontario. His father was a surgeon in the British army and his mother was half-British and half-Ottawa. As a child, Richardson lived for a time with his grandparents in Detroit. He enlisted with the British army at 16, and during the war of 1812 participated in the Battle of the River Raisin (Monroe, MI) and the Battle of the Thames, where he was taken prisoner by U.S. troops. He made a career of the army until at least 1838, rising to the rank of Major. In 1849 Richardson moved to NYC to try to make a living writing fiction, but failed in this. He died there in 1852, supposedly of starvation, and was buried in a pauper’s cemetery. – Wikipedia

A Land I Will Show Thee – Michigan Pioneer Fiction

Schoolland, Marian M.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1954

“The Founding of Holland, Michigan, by a small group of Dutch immigrants seeking a religious refuge.” Dutch Americans — Fiction — Michigan — Holland, Holland (Mich.) — Fiction.

Author notes: Marian M. Schoolland (1902-1984) was the daughter of a Dutch immigrant professor at the minister-training institution that became Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, MI. She was a 1934 graduate of Calvin College, going on to a teaching career in elementary school while also translating, editing, and writing articles and books. Most of her books were for children, and of those, her best known were devotional. -Banner of Truth website.

Montlivet – Michigan Romantic Historical Fiction

Smith, Alice Prescott
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1906

“A rather well written love story with enough adventure with Indians to keep you turning the pages. Early trading days, when the French, English and the Indian were contending for supremacy, give the setting. The story centers about Armand de Montlivet who masquerades as a French trader and saves an English youth.” – ALA Booklist. Features Fort Michilimackinac. United States — Fiction — History — French and Indian War, 1754-1763. Books set in Michigan.

The Original – Books Set in Michigan

Smith, Larry
Herder & Herder 1972

Picture of the grim, unremitting labor that was the reality of farm life at the turn of the century. Books set in Michigan.

Larry Smith was a newspaper and magazine editor with the New York Times and Parade magazine, where he was managing editor for nineteen years. Former president of the Overseas Press Club of America, he lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. The U.S. Marine Corps presented him with the Esprit de Corps Award for his work with veterans and active duty service personnel.

Spring Flight – Books Set in Michigan

Smits, Lee J.
NY: Knopf 1925

“Kenneth Farr, just before World War I, combines newspaper and advertising work with relaxation on the Detroit River.”

Author notes: Lee J. Smits made his living writing for Detroit newspapers. Other than that, the only information found about him was in a 1934 article, “Good Books that Almost Nobody Has Read”. Malcolm Cowley, New Republic literary editor, identified ‘The Spring Flight’ as such a book. Cowley wrote, “I can recall Eaton (Smits’ editor) saying that Smits was one of the laziest people mentally he ever knew. He vastly preferred the life of a beachcomber on the waterfront at Detroit (if you can imagine such a thing) to the labors of composition… I know Easton and myself were enthusiastic and hoped ‘The Spring Flight’ was the first of a series from Smits’ pen…. Mr. Knopf (publisher) had the same idea and did everything possible to induce Smits to work.” – New Republic, 18 Apr 1934

F.O.B. Detroit – Novels Set in Michigan

Smitter, Wessel
Harper 1938

“Bennie, who accepts his work in the Holt automobile plant uncritically, asking nothing better of life than to become a ‘straw boss’, tells in his own vernacular the story of his friend Russ, a former lumberjack, whose restlessness and longing for independence make it impossible for him to adjust himself to the stultifying regimentation of the factory’s assembly line. A compact, dramatic novel which is also an indictment of the modern industrial system.” – N.Y. libraries. Automobile industry and trade — Fiction — Michigan — Detroit, Detroit (Mich.) — Fiction, Automobile factories — Fiction.

Author notes: Wessel Smitter (1892-1951) was born to Dutch immigrants in Plainfield, MI. He graduated from U of M in 1922 and worked in advertising for one of the Detroit auto makers. He detested the “industrial machine” way of life and abruptly left for Hollywood, where he finished his novel ‘F.O.B. Detroit’. A New York Times review compared him to John Steinbeck, and the book was made into a movie, ‘Reaching for the Sun’, in 1941. – IMDb website

Felice Constant, or The Master Passion; a Romance – Detroit Historical Fiction Books

Sprague, William C.
NY: Stokes 1904

Set in Fort Detroit at the time of the British occupation. Detroit (Mich.) — Fiction — History — Revolution, 1775-1783.

Author notes: William Cyrus Sprague (1860-1922) was born in Malta, Ohio, son of a banker and U.S. Congressman. He was educated at Dennison College and Cincinnati Law School, moving to Detroit in the mid-1880s to practice commercial law. In Detroit he played leading roles in Sunday school education, the Masons, and in a nationwide association of commercial lawyers. In 1890 he launched the Sprague Correspondence School of Law, a radically new way for prospective lawyers all around the country to prepare themselves for bar examinations. His success in this led very soon to the Sprague Publishing Company and the Sprague Correspondence School of Journalism. He also did a lot of writing. In addition to adventure novels for boys, he wrote ‘An Abridgement of Blackstone’ for law students and edited a newsletter entitled ‘The Law Student’s Helper’.

The Long Winter Ends – Books set in Michigan Upper Peninsula

Thomas, Newton G.
NY: Macmillan 1941

Tells the story of a year in the life of a young emigrant miner who leaves Cornwall in the southwest of England to work in the copper mines of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Through Jim’s story, The Long Winter Ends offers a glimpse into the lives of an often neglected emigrant group that played an important role in the development of the Great Lake and American mining industries since the 1840s. Drawing on his own experiences as a young Cornish immigrant in the mining communities of the Upper Peninsula, Thomas incorporated firsthand knowledge of the work routines and vocabulary of underground mining into this novel. This narrative traces the Cornish emigrant experience from the failure of the mines in Cornwall, their hopes to preserve Cornish traditions in America, and then finally the acceptance of a future in America. British Americans — History — Fiction — Michigan — Upper Peninsula, Cornish Americans — History — Fiction — Michigan — Upper Peninsula, Cornish — Fiction — Michigan — Keweenaw Peninsula, Copper mines and mining — Fiction — Michigan — Keweenaw Peninsula.

The Red-Keggers – Teen Historical Fiction Set in Michigan

Thwing, Eugene
NY: Grosset & Dunlap 1903

“Changing times for the people of Red Keg, five miles from Midland, as the farmer’s plow replaces the lumberman’s ax.” Country life — Juvenile fiction — Michigan.

Alice Wilde: The Raftsman’s Daughter. A Forest Romance – Michigan Frontier Fiction Book

Victor, Metta Victoria Fuller
NY: Beadle 1860

His proposal of marriage rebuffed by his cousin, a New York man meets the beautiful daughter of a Michigan sawmill owner and falls in love. Set in “Center City” in the 1840s.* Frontier and pioneer life — Fiction, Michigan — Fiction, Lumbering — Fiction, Dime novels.

Author notes: Metta Victor (1831 – 1885) was raised in Wooster, OH and lived about 1850 or 1851 in Ypsilanti, MI with her sister. She later moved to Mansfield, OH, where she married a newspaperman, and they soon moved to New York City. She had an extremely prolific and successful writing career, publishing poetry, romances, mysteries, short stories, humor and even cookbooks under a dozen pen names. At one point she had a 5-year, $25,000 contract with the New York Weekly; a huge salary in the 19th Century.

The Backwoods Bride; a Romance of Squatter Life – Michigan Historical Fiction Books

Victor, Metta Victoria Fuller
London: Routledge 1861

A new landowner accosts a group of squatters who have settled on his property and falls in love with one of their daughters. Set in southern Michigan in the 1840s.* Frontier and pioneer life — Fiction, Trials — Fiction, Camp meetings — Fiction, Detective and mystery stories, Michigan — Fiction, Women pioneers — Fiction — Social life and customs, Murder — Fiction — Investigation, Outlaws — Fiction, Dime novels.
For a brief biographical sketch of the author, see her other entry on this page.

The Fabric of the Loom – Books Set in Michigan

Watts, Mary Stanbery
MacMillan 1924

A story depicting the superficial aspect of materialistic American society in contrast with European culture.

Author notes: Mary Stanbery Watts (1868-1958) was raised on a farm in Delaware County, OH and educated at a convent in Cincinnati. She married a successful real estate agent and spend her adult life in Cincinnati. Her first novel was published in 1908, and followed with a number of others in the ‘teens and ‘twenties. Several of her articles and short stories also appeared in Harpers’ magazine, and probably in others.

What End But Love – Books That Take Place in Michigan

Webber, Gordon
Little 1959

Memories of farm life and industrial growth set in the framework of a family reunion on a Michigan farm near the automobile factories in 1934. Automobile industry and trade — Fiction — Michigan — Flint, Flint (Mich.) — Fiction.

Author notes: Gordon Webber (1912-1986) was raised in Linden, MI and graduated from college in Jamestown, ND in 1934. He then earned an M.A. in journalism at Univ. of Michigan, and was working as a writer for NBC before the war. In WWII he served in the Navy as a gunnery officer, receiving a Navy commendation at the Normandy invasion. He went on to write short stories, film scripts, and four novels during a post-war career at an advertising agency. In 1952 he was the founding president of the Classic Car Club of America.

The Blazed Trail

White, Stewart Edward
NY: Doubleday. 1902

“It is a record of outdoor life, of life in the logging-camps along Lake Superior, a story of the fight of men with nature. … the author carries the hero from his first experience as a raw hand through all the phases of logging to the time when he is owner of a great logging-camp. When he has finished, the reader knows as much about the preparations of a log for the sawmill as he would know if he had read a government report on the subject.” – Literary Digest

Author notes: Stewart Edward White (1873-1946) grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and was a graduate of the University of Michigan. An avid camper and outdoorsman, Theodore Roosevelt said he was “the best man with both pistol and rifle who ever shot” at Roosevelt’s rifle range at Sagamore Hill. White wrote fiction and non-fiction about adventure and travel, with an emphasis on natural history and outdoor living. Beginning in 1922, he and his wife Elizabeth wrote a number of books about spiritualism.

“White’s books were popular at a time when America was losing its vanishing wilderness. He was a keen observer of the beauties of nature and human nature, yet could render them in a plain-spoken style. Based on his own experience, whether writing camping journals or Westerns, he included pithy and fun details about cabin-building, canoeing, logging, gold-hunting, and guns and fishing and hunting. He also interviewed people who had been involved in the fur trade, the California gold rush and other pioneers which provided him with details that give his novels verisimilitude. He salted in humor and sympathy for colorful characters such as canny Indian guides and “greenhorn” campers who carried too much gear.”- Summary by Wikipedia and David Wales

The Riverman – Fiction Books Set in Michigan

White, Stewart Edward
NY: McClure. 1908

See the biographical note about the author at The Blazed Trail, on this web page.

A story of Michigan rivermen which deals with the fortunes of a log-driving firm. The hero is a river-boss who is induced by a New York lawyer, roughing it for his health, to join him in organizing a company to handle expeditiously all of the logs of the section. The treachery of the partner is outlined in detail against the sterling strength of the rugged hero. Local color and atmosphere abound.
– Book Review Digest

The Adventures of Bobby Orde

White, Stewart Edward
NY: Doubleday 1908

The nine-year-old son of a river boss has a number of outdoor adventures and helps clear a neighbor of a murder charge. Set in the lumber mill town of “Monrovia.”* Lumbering — Fiction — Michigan — Grand Haven, Grand Haven (Mich.) — Fiction, Boys — Juvenile fiction, Adventure stories.

See the biographical note about the author at The Blazed Trail, on this web page.

In the Michigan Lumber-Camps

Whittier, Charles Albert
NY: Broadway 1904

From the “Boys Vacation Series”. The author wrote in the Introduction that he, “purposes to take his readers on “personally conducted” tours through the interesting and instructive regions …” “The incidents related are based upon the actual experiences and adventures of a party of boys who spend every school vacation in travel under the guidance of a gentleman in hearty sympathy with his young charges …”

Author notes: Charles Albert Whittier (1840-1908) was raised in Boston, completing graduate studies at Harvard in 1860. He was studying law there when the Civil War began in 1861, and he enlisted as a lieutenant in the Massachusetts infantry. By the end of the war he had risen to Brevet Brigadier General, before his 25th birthday. He remained in the army until 1870, when he resigned to become a lawyer and a partner in a Boston investment bank. He apparently became very rich from the bank’s investments in railroads. He served in the army again, for less than a year, during the Spanish American War. – Wikipedia

Indian Affairs – Fiction about Michigan

Woiwode, Larry
Atheneum 1992

Sequel to ‘What I’m Going to Do, I Think’. This novel set in Michigan is, “in part, an anatomy of a marriage strained by the death of a baby and racial differences: Chris is a native American and Ellen a white Christian Scientist. They have returned to their home turf to stay in Ellen’s grandparents’ cabin so Chris can work on his dissertation about the Michigan poet Roethke in peace and quiet, but they get very little of either. . . Both Chris and Ellen fall into depression. Chris is suffering an identity crisis over the conflict between his native American heritage and his academic pursuits, while Ellen decides to write about her grief over being childless.” -Booklist
“Indian Affairs’ is an intelligent, psychologically harrowing book.” N Y Times Book Rev. Michigan–Fiction, Indians of North America–Michigan–Fiction.

Author notes: Larry Woiwode was born in Carrington, North Dakota on October 30, 1941. He went to the University of Illinois, but did not graduate. His short stories and poetry appeared in several magazines including Harper’s, Partisan Review, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. His first novel, What I’m Going to Do, I Think, was published in 1969. His other novels included Beyond the Bedroom Wall: A Family Album, Poppa John, Born Brothers, and Indian Affairs. He also wrote a collection of poems entitled Even Tide. He was named North Dakota Poet Laureate in 1995. -Bowker author biography

Whistlestop – Fiction Books Set in Michigan

Wolff, Maritta M.
Random House 1941

Maritta Wolff’s 1941 masterpiece about small-town Midwestern life in post-Depression America.
Whistle Stop, published to rave reviews and astonishing commercial success, is the story of the Veech family, an oversize, poverty-stricken tribe trying to make good in a cruel world. Through the course of a punishingly hot summer, we experience life with the six children and three adult Veeches as they bicker, brawl, make up, and provide titillating morsels of scandal for the neighborhood. A work of darkly comic grotesque, replete with shades of Flannery O’Connor, Whistle Stop is also a wrenching and earnest rumination on the tragedy of thwarted love. Middle West — Fiction, Depressions — Fiction, Criminals — Fiction, City and town life — Fiction.

Author notes: Maritta Martin Wolff (1918-2002) was born at Grass Lake, MI, growing up on her grandparents’ farm and attending a one-room school. She attended Univ. of Michigan, and wrote her first novel, ‘Whistlestop’, for a writing class in her senior year. Despite vulgar dialogue and themes of incest and violence it won a university prize. When it was published in 1941 it was a best-seller and was praised by author Sinclair Lewis as the most important novel of the year. It was later adapted as a 1946 movie. Her second novel, Night Shift (1942) was also highly praised, and became the 1946 film ‘The Man I Love’. She wrote a total of 7 novels, the last one completed in 1972 but not published until after her death.


Woolson, Constance Fenimore
NY: Harper 1910

Traces the fortunes of Anne Douglas, a young orphan of strong impulses, fine character and high devotion to duty. Scenes laid on Mackinac Island and in New York. Fiction / Classics, Americans — Fiction — Italy, Fiction — Social life and customs.

Author notes: Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) was raised in Cleveland, OH, and was a grand-niece of James Fennimore Cooper, one of the best-known American writers of the second quarter of the 19th century. Constance was educated at the Cleveland Female Seminary and at a New York boarding school, and traveled extensively when young in the northeast and Midwest, including the Great Lakes. She began publishing short stories and essays in 1870 in the leading national magazines, and published ‘Castle Nowhere’, her first volume of short stories, in 1875. She continued a very successful career as a novelist, poet, and travel essayist until her accidental death from a fall in 1894.

Castle Nowhere: Lake-Country Sketches

Woolson, Constance Fenimore
Boston: Osgood 1875

Where Copper was King; a Tale of the Early Mining Days on Lake Superior – Books set in Michigan Upper Peninsula

Wright, James North
Boston: Small, Maynard 1905

The author wrote in the Introduction that he, “…has been urged to take upon himself the office of chronicler, lest the memories of that rough and difficult and, in no slight degree, heroic life be irrevocably lost …” “The characters whom he has attempted to draw are real characters, who played parts of more or less prominence in the Lake Superior country forty years ago; and the incidents – distressing, tragical, and ridiculous – which he has described are taken from real life, with but little coloring or exaggeration.”
A story of the copper mining industry on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the 1860s, with much detail given about the techniques, dangers, and working conditions associated with mining.* Copper mines and mining — Fiction, Superior (Lake, Region) — Fiction, Copper mines and mining — Fiction — Michigan — Keweenaw Peninsula.

Author notes: The only information found about James North Wright was that he worked for at least two large mining companies in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as an agent or superintendent.

*Plot Summaries were found in Beasecker, Robert, “Michigan in the Novel 1816-2006: An Annotated Bibliography, Second Edition”(2016)
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