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Great American Literary Road Trip

August 2, 2018 | By: Communications Staff

North, south, east, and west, America’s literary icons have left their mark across the country. Take a car, train, or plane to visit one of these bookmarked destinations or get inspired to travel to your library to check out a book. Whether it leads you near or far, this map is sure to guide you to adventure. 

1) Robert Frost Farm – Derry, NH

This farm was home to Robert Frost (1874-1963) and his family for over a decade. While preferring poetry to agriculture, many of his works were inspired by his years on this farm.

2) Emily Dickinson Museum  – Amherst, MA

This is the birthplace and home of poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). She was a prolific and reclusive writer, and most of her 1800 poems were left unpublished until after her death.

3) Ralph Ellison Memorial  – Riverside Park, New York City, NY

Born in Oklahoma, Ralph Ellison (1914-1994) was a longtime resident of Riverside Drive in Harlem. This monument commemorates his novel The Invisible Man.

4) Portrait of Toni Morrison by Robert McCurdy – National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

The first African American female Nobel laureate, Toni Morrison explores the African-American experience through her writing.

5) San Juan, Puerto Rico

This seaport is the financial and cultural heart of the island. The vibrant city is the birthplace of author Esmeralda Santiago, known for her memoir When I was a Puerto Rican. 

6) Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West, FL

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) spent much of the 1930s living in his Key West home with his second wife, Pauline. Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not is set in Key West.

7) Monroeville, AL

Hometown to Harper Lee (1926-2016) and the inspiration for Maycomb, Monroeville is a destination for To Kill A Mockingbird fans. The town is full of literary landmarks, from the bronze statue of a young girl reading Lee’s book to the Old Courthouse Museum where Lee’s father practiced law.

8) Faulkner House Books – 624 Pirate Alley, New Orleans, LA

William Faulkner (1897-1962) lived on the ground floor of this house in 1925. He wrote his first novel, Soldier’s Play, here. It is now a private residence and and rare book store.

9) Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library – Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis native and writer, Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) had a career that extended across 50 years. View Vonnegut’s typewriter, drawings, and first editions are on display.

10) Osage Nation Museum – Pawhuska, OK

In 1938, Native American writer John Joseph Matthews (1895-1979) helped found this museum. Matthews wrote about Osage culture and oral histories. He was one of the first indigenous authors to gain national recognition.

11) Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society – De Smet, SD

The Little House on the Prairie series was based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s (1867-1957) childhood experiences. Two of the houses she lived in as a child as well as her schoolhouse are still standing.

12) Klickitat Street – Portland, OR 

This street is the setting for the antics of two of Beverly Cleary’s most famous characters, Ramona and Beezus Quimby. Portland is full of Cleary landmarks, from her high school home to a sculpture garden in Grant Park. 

13) Waverly Place  – San Francisco, CA

This brightly colored street in San Francisco’s Chinatown is a prominent location in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. Born in Oakland, CA, Tan writes about life in Chinese-American communities.

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