University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Blanche Willis Howard collection, 1847–1906

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

This collection contains samplings of Howard’s literary work in manuscript form, biographical information, correspondence, business papers with her publishers, and estate documents. Some items are in German.

Biographical/Historical Note

Blanche Willis Howard was born in Bangor, Maine, in 1847, and by most accounts died in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1898 (although it is also written that she died in Munich.) A well-known novelist in both the United States and abroad, Howard lived in various locations in Germany from 1875 until her death and was one of the few writers of her time to publish her work in the United States from outside the country. Having moved to Germany to study and act as correspondent for the Boston Evening Transcript, she settled in Stuttgart where she taught, wrote novels, plays and poetry, edited a magazine in English and chaperoned American girls studying art and music in a type of finishing school she created. (Howard herself was an accomplished musician and acquaintance of Wagner and Lizst.) She enjoyed the outdoors and was a cyclist, swimmer and excellent horsewoman. In 1890 she married Baron Julius von Teuffel, court physician to the King of Wurttemberg, who encouraged her in her writing. Widowed in 1896, she remained in Germany and continued her literary work. Howard authored or co-authored a total of sixteen volumes, at least two of those published posthumously. She wrote under her maiden name and her work was translated into a number of European languages. Her first novel, One Summer, was published in 1875 while she still lived in Maine and was set in Wiscasset. The remainder of her work, for the most part, was set in Europe, and The Open Door (1889) and Dionysis: The Weaver’s Heart’s Dearest (1899) were her most critically acclaimed. Howard’s body of work includes: One Summer (1875); A full report on the exercises at the centennial celebration of the declaration of independence by American citizens in Stuttgart, Germany (with John Greenleaf Whittier and Anna Hubbard Mercur; 1876); One Year Abroad (1877); Robin Hood’s Miracle and Other Stories (with Hezekiah Butterworth; 1878); Aunt Serena (1881); Guen: A Wave on the Breton Coast (1883); Aulnay Tower (1885); Tony, The Maid, a Novelette (1887); The Open Door (1889); The Humming Top, or, Debit and Credit in the Next World (1890); A Fellowe and His Wife (with William Sharp; 1892); A Battle and a Boy (1892); No Heroes (1893); Seven on the Highway (1897); Dionysis: The Weaver’s Heart’s Dearest (posthumously, 1899); The Garden of Eden (posthumously, 1900). She was distantly related to General Oliver Otis Howard of Leeds, Maine.