Sinclair Lewis
Privacy Level: Open (White)

Harry Sinclair Lewis (1885 - 1951)

Harry Sinclair (Sinclair) Lewis
Born in Sauk Centre, Stearns, Minnesota, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 14 Apr 1914 (to 1925) in Manhattan, New York County, New York, United Statesmap
Husband of — married 14 May 1928 (to 1942) in St. Martin, London, Englandmap
Died at age 65 in Rome, Lazio, Italymap
Problems/Questions Profile manager: Notables Project WikiTree private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 27 Oct 2009
This page has been accessed 7,039 times.
Sinclair Lewis is notable.
Join: Notables Project
Discuss: notables



Early Life

Harry Sinclair Lewis was born on February 7, 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.[1] When Lewis was only 6 years old, his mother passed away and his father remarried. Lewis began to read books at a very young age and often kept a dairy next to him. During Lewis's boyhood, he had to go through many hardships especially during school. Lewis was tall, thin, and had a lot of acne. Lewis didn't have the looks to impress girls in his school during his childhood. Lewis often ran away from his house and wanted to become a drummer boy for the Spanish-American War.

Early Career in Literature

After Sinclair Lewis gratuated from Yale, Lewis would move from job to job, searching for something to write for publication and to escape boredom. Although Lewis was influenced by Main Street and Social Idealism, {Main Street?} which was a study of Idealism and reality in a narrow-minded small-town. Lewis never had mentors in his writing because he would usually get stories from his past childhood and from his diary but he praised Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway. Lewis finally published his first book, Hike and the Aeroplane. Then the following year, Lewis married his first wife named Grace Livingston Hegger, who was an editor at Vogue magazine. Together, they had a son named Wells Lewis. Wells was named after a famous British author H.G. Wells, whose social ideas influenced Lewis.

Sinclair's Success and Later Life

After writing his first two novels and receiving his M.A in 1908, Lewis moved to Washington D.C. and devoted himself to literature. Lewis was a member of the Socialist Party for a short time. Many of his books became films such as Arrowsmith (1925) and Elmer Gantry (1927). Both movies earned many awards.

Lewis divorced his first wife, Grace Livingston Hegger and later married Dorothy Thompson, who was a political newspaper columnist. In the 1920s to the 1930s, Lewis focused on writing short stories and magazines. Lewis eventually won the Noble Prize in Literature in 1930. Lewis died in Rome on January 10, 1951 at the age of 65 from an advanced form of alcoholism.


Lewis's legacy lives on. Lewis was very important during this time period because he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1930, the first American to do so.

Quotes of Sinclair Lewis

"Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless."

"What is love? It is the morning and the evening star."

“He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.”

Books by Sinclair Lewis

  • Hike and the Aeroplane (1912)
  • Our Mr. Wrenn (1914)
  • '"Trail of the Hawk, the"' (1915)
  • ""Innocents: A Story for Lovers, the"" (1917)
  • Job, the (1917)
  • Free Air (1919)
  • Main Street (1920)
  • Babbitt (1922)
  • Arrowsmith (1925)
  • Mantrap (1926)
  • Elmer Gantry (1927)
  • Dodsworth (1929)
  • Ann Vickers (1933)
  • Work of Art (1934)
  • It Can't Happen Here (1935)
  • Prodigal Parents, the (1938)
  • Bethel Merriday (1940)
  • Gideon Planish (1943)
  • Cass Timberlane (1945)
  • Kingsblood Royal (1947)
  • God-Seeker, the (1949)
  • World So Wide (1951)


  1. "United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 14 April 2016), Sinclair Lewis, 27 Apr 1942; citing NARA microfilm publication M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, and M2097 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (Link: accessed 5 February 2017), Harry S Lewis in household of E J Lewis, Sauk Center city Ward 1-2, Stearns, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 177, sheet 7B, family 112, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,792.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Pedigree Resource File," database, FamilySearch (Link: accessed 2017-02-06), entry for Harry Sinclair /Lewis/. (Offered as supporting material, caution-this is a Pedigree Resource File and has not been verified.)
  • "New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940," database, FamilySearch ( : 20 March 2015), Sinclair Lewis and Grace Livingston Hegger, 15 Apr 1914; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,613,906.
  • "England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005," database, FamilySearch ( : 8 October 2014), Dorothy Thompson and null, 1928; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing 1928, quarter 2, vol. 1A, p. 1299, St. Martin, London, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  • (Dorothy and Harry (Sinclair Lewis) named in marriage license of son.) "Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 6 December 2014), Harry Sinclair Lewis in entry for Michael Lewis and Bernadette Françoise Nansé, 20 Jun 1951, Marriage; State Capitol Building, Montpelier; FHL microfilm 1,991,799.
  • Wikipedia:Sinclair_Lewis
  • Wikidata: Item Q123469 help.gif
  • He is buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Sauk Centre, Stearns County, Minnesota, USA. His page has a long bio. and a picture of him. It lists and has links to his parents, siblings, spouses, 2 children.

Sponsored Search

Is Sinclair your ancestor? Please don't go away!
 star icon Login to collaborate or comment, or
 star icon contact private message the profile manager, or
 star icon ask our community of genealogists a question.
Sponsored Search by

No known carriers of Sinclair's DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Sponsored by Ancestry ®

Family History Search.


Enter a grandparent's name. Just one grandparent can lead you to many discoveries.

Comments: 8

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.
I've read that he was named after Upton Sinclair but I don't have a source for that off-hand (I'll look for it). His parents lived in a squat-situation with Upton Sinclair I think in New Jersey.
posted by Vincent Piazza


posted by jesse quy

Rejected matches › Harry Ellsworth Lewis (1884-1953)