Hoosier Authors: Meredith Nicholson

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Photograph portrait of Meredith Nicholson, n.d. Source: Culver-Union Township Public Library

Photograph portrait of Meredith Nicholson, n.d. Source: Culver-Union Township Public Library

As we continue “Hoosier Authors”, we have spoken about Gruelle and Johnston, two famed Hoosier children’s authors. Today, we turn our focus onto fiction author, Meredith Nicholson.

Nicholson was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana on December 9, 1866; however, his family moved to Indianapolis when Meredith was five. Nicholson did not receive a formal education but was self-educated. He was fluent in four languages: Latin, Greek, French, and Italian. As a young man, Nicholson worked various positions until he begun studying law (Gressitt, A.S., 1995; Indiana Humanities, 2017; Wikipedia, 2017).

Nicholson had a fascinating career: he did not stay or have one job for a long period. Nicholson worked as a politician, author, and international diplomat. As stated previously, Nicholson no longer found law interesting as a career; moreover, he began his career as a newspaper reporter for the Indianapolis Sentinel (1884) and Indianapolis News (1885-1897) for thirteen years. As a news reporter, he dabbled in writing, publishing his first book in 1891. It was not until 1906 when he struck literary gold in The House of a Thousand Candles in 1906 and ranked the fourth best-selling novel in the United States in 1906. Nicholson wrote two more top-selling novels in 1907 (The Port of Missing Men, ranked the third bestselling) and in 1912 (A Hoosier Chronicle, ranked the fifth bestselling). His last published novel was in 1928, The Cavalier of Tennessee (Gressitt, A.S., 1995; Indiana Humanities, 2017; Wikipedia, 2017).

Book cover of "The House of a Thousand Candles", 1905. Source: University Archives and Special Collections

Book cover of “The House of a Thousand Candles”, 1905. Source: University Archives and Special Collections

As previously mentioned, Nicholson served as a politician and diplomat for the United States. He His first stint in politics was serving a one term (1928-1930) as a city councilman in Indianapolis with the Democratic Party. After serving, Nicholson received the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for three Latin and South American countries: Paraguay (1933-1934), Venezuela (1935-1938), and Nicaragua (1938-1941). After serving in 1941, Nicholson retired from the limelight and resided in Indianapolis until his death on December 21, 1947 (Gressitt, A.S., 1995; Indiana Humanities, 2017; Wikipedia, 2017).

References

Gressitt, A. S. (1995 October 21). Meredith Nicholson collection, 1890-1942: Biographical sketch. Retrieved from http://www.indianahistory.org/our-collections/collection-guides/meredith-nicholson-collection-1890-1942.pdf

Indiana Humanities. (2017). Meredith Nicholson house. Retrieved from http://indianahumanities.org/about/meredith-nicholson-house

Wikipedia. (2 March 2017). Meredith Nicholson. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meredith_Nicholson

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