Bromfield, Louis, 1896-1956

Alternative names
Birth 1896-12-27
Death 1956-03-18

Biographical notes:

Louis Bromfield was an American author and conservationist from central Ohio who gained international recognition winning the Pulitzer Prize and pioneering innovative scientific farming concepts.

From the guide to the Louis Bromfield correspondence to Edna Wolfe, 1942-1949, (Ohio University)

American author and conservationist. From 1939-1969 he lived and did sustainable farming at Malabar Farm, Lucas, Ohio.

From the description of [Signature, 19--] / Louis Bromfield. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 174549131

Louis Bromfield was a world-famous author who wrote stories, plays, Hollywood film scripts, articles, essays, and over 37 novels and non-fiction books, many of which appeared in more than ten languages. He was also an influential farmer. Bromfield was born in 1896 in Mansfield, Ohio. After serving in World War I in the French Army, he returned to New York City and began to write for his living. He became a contributing columnist for Time magazine and theatre, music, and art critic for The Bookman, among other jobs. In 1924 he published his first novel, The Green Bay Tree, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel Early Autumn, published in 1926. Bromfield moved to France with his family, where they lived from 1925 until 1938. He mixed with the nobility of Europe, stars of the stage and screen, and literary figures such as Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Edna Ferber, and Edith Wharton. He and his family also traveled widely in Europe and parts of Asia. A trip to India furnished him with material for his novel The Rains Came, which was later made into a movie. Just before the outbreak of World War II, they returned to Ohio where Bromfield purchased the land that became known as Malabar Farm. For the rest of his life he was concerned with soil conservation and productive farming techniques. He traveled in the United States and South America advocating a "new agriculture" that would save the soil and keep it rich and productive. Malabar Farm became a showplace for visiting agronomists, businessmen, and farmers, as well as celebrities such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who were married at the farm in 1945. He also made room for friends from Europe who had been displaced by the war. At Malabar, he continued to write. One of many works written there is Pleasant Valley, published in 1945.

From the description of Louis Bromfield collection, ca. 1920-1956. (Ohio State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 65429304

American writer and experimental farmer.

From the description of Letters of Louis Bromfield [manuscript], 1952 & n.d. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647812936

American novelist.

From the description of Letters, [ca 1942]-1949 / Louis Bromfield. (Ohio University). WorldCat record id: 12681506

Louis Bromfield was born in Ohio and studied agriculture and journalism at Cornell. After serving in World War I, he began writing popular novels, culminating in the Pulitzer Prize in 1927. He and his family lived thirteen years in France, where he wrote and joined in the expatriate American literary circle, returning to America only when World War II became imminent. With money earned by screenwriting, he bought 1,000 acres of farmland in Ohio, named it Malabar Farm, and sought to revitalize it with modern agricultural methods. He continued to write throughout his life, including novels, short stories, plays, and social commentary.

From the description of Louis Bromfield letter and newspaper article, 1939-1973. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 63173079

Trotti was a Hollywood screenwriter.

From the guide to the Brigham Young script, 1940, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Screenplay writer, author, and motion picture director.

From the guide to the Collection on Brigham Young, 1940, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

American author and experimental farmer.

From the description of Letters : of Louis Bromfield, 1917-1919 [manuscript]. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647833972

Louis Bromfield was a midwestern novelist, screenwriter, and farmer. His early novels, often with rural themes, were popular and highly-praised, culminating in the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His later years were increasingly devoted to farming, including lecture tours on topics such as conservation and agricultural innovations. His efforts raised American consciousness on agriculture and nature.

From the description of An Alsatian idyll / by Louis Bromfield, 1941. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 52523592

Louis Bromfield was born on December 27, 1896, in Mansfield, Ohio. After studying agriculture at Cornell University and journalism at Columbia University, Bromfield served in the American Field Service during World War I and was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor medals. After a brief post-war stay in the United States, Bromfield and his wife returned to Europe where they lived in France until 1938. In the early 1920s, Bromfield began to publish his fiction writing, and was an instant critical success with his first book, The Green Bay Tree, in 1924. Bromfield enjoyed continued, popular success over the next three decades, and won the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Early Autumn .

Bromfield returned to central Ohio in 1938, where he turned his attention to sustainable farming and soil management. At his Malabar Farm, Bromfield put into practice many of the theoretical principles of scientific farming. In his later life, despite his fame as a writer of fiction, Bromfield continued to shift his focus to sustainable agriculture, conservation, and related political issues effecting these endeavors. Much of Bromfield's writing in these areas has become a permanent addition to the study of agriculture.

Louis Bromfield died in 1956; after his death, Malabar Farm was sold by the Bromfield family to the Friends of the Land organization, who in turn donated the property to the state of Ohio in 1972. In 1976, the site formally became Malabar Farm State Park.

From the guide to the Louis Bromfield Collection, 1850-1986, 1906-1986, (The Ohio State University. Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.)


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Ark ID:


  • Farms--Ohio--Mansfield
  • Mormons in motion pictures
  • Athens (Ohio)
  • Conservationists--History--Sources
  • World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives
  • Motion pictures--Plots, themes, etc
  • Aisne, Battle of the, France, 1918
  • Environmental protection--History--Sources
  • Male authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Material Types
  • Moving Images
  • Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Architects--Ohio--20th century
  • Farms
  • Farmers--Ohio
  • Environmental protection
  • Mormons--History--Fiction
  • Conservationists--Ohio
  • Agriculture--Ohio--History--20th century
  • Motion picture actors and actresses
  • Authors, American--20th century


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  • Senlis (France) (as recorded)
  • Ohio (as recorded)
  • Ohio (as recorded)
  • Athens (Ohio) (as recorded)
  • Mansfield (Ohio) (as recorded)