Author Adventures is a volunteer-based NGO, founded by educators and students, to promote the historic homes and workplaces of US authors, organized road-trip-style by state. Our team is nationwide and personally visited the majority listed, representing approximately 20 years of travel.
How do you select authors or places for authoradventures.org?
We include places with appeal to families with school-age children, educators, historians, and others who want to inspire future generations to read through the eyes of writers.
We welcome ideas for places that meet these requirements:
Author home, hangout or workplace
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Authentic (not a replica)
Age-appropriate for ages 10 and up
Delightful to visit
Which places are not included?
If we find that one is no longer open to the public or fell into major disrepair, we will likely remove it. We stay away from private residences. In the interest of authenticity, replicas are avoided too. We don’t profile cemeteries and rarely get into the paranormal. Story settings are usually excluded unless the author lived or worked there.
Our tireless volunteers seek places to add on an ongoing basis. They rely on in-person visits and credible sources, which often means working beyond historically dominant, non-inclusive narratives. We have found that due to unfair housing practices and misapplication of the GI Bill, many People of Color writers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries did not have the opportunity to own homes, despite contributing significant work to the US literary canon. In the absence of the homes of these important writers, we strive to expand research and awareness of alternative “residences,” such as universities, former workplaces, historic churches, and even natural outdoor wonderlands that fed their souls.
For GI Bill history, we recommend these links:
We operate a place we think fits with this website. Are you able to visit?
Get in touch and tell us more! Reach us through the contact form below.
Does the Authors Adventures site only include authors?
Some exceptions include other published creators, such as poets, playwrights, illustrators, etc., if it makes sense for the road trip path, but we stick mostly with authors.
Are all the places free?
Some are free and some may charge admission or request donations to help maintain their property. Please check their websites for details. In addition, be ready for gift shops. We hope you will lend support in any way you can.
Why take school-age children to places where the author did not write for their age group?
Our site aims for families with children ages 10 and up. A parent or tour guide can explain to a student the importance or appeal of a book, or the life of the writer, even if the student does not have the reading level or maturity to understand the writing. We steer away from encouraging parents to bring very young children to many of the sites because of the challenges that arise when combining the needs of very young children with the fragile nature of historic homes.
Why are only some US presidents who wrote books listed?
We focus on those we believe would be known for their books, even if they were not elected. For example, John F. Kennedy won a Pulitzer Prize for Profiles In Courage, so he is included (see Massachusetts), but presidents whose only books are memoirs written after leaving office are usually not included. The same is true of other writers whose only published works are memoirs, unless they are considered major historical works, such as the autobiography of Black Elk.
What about author homes in other countries?
We include a bit of Canada because of its relevance to US authors, like Jack London in Dawson City. That said, since our team is made up of volunteers and we strive to personally visit the sites at our own expense, we decided to focus on the US rather than tackling the entire world. For now.
Where else can we find information about literary landmarks?
Every organization interested in literary landmarks has its own ways to define them. Unlike Author Adventures, some include places that are not open to the public as long as they provide funding or community interest and are simply designated with a plaque. We post information about or recommend places that are open to the public — where you can enter inside and walk around the property without having to ask private residents for permission. A few good ideas of resources “on the same page” as us include literaryamerica.net, the Writers’ Houses book by Erica Lennard, bookingaroundtheusa.tumblr.com, and noveldestinations.com.
Which was the hardest state to include?
New York. The number of authors’ historical sites there is more than the number in the other 49 states combined, though a good many are not open to the public. Also, states with severe winters have literary sites that are difficult to maintain or keep open year-round. If you visit a place that seems run-down, please be understanding. And generous.
The map below shows the states with the most literary landmarks profiled on this website and open to the public.