Sinclair Lewis doll, photo courtesy of Uneek Doll Designs

Sinclair Lewis, Main Street Author

Sinclair Lewis was born in the small town of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, in 1885. His first great success in writing was a novel entitled Main Street, which was published in 1920. He based the book on life in his hometown, but he didn’t say much that was positive about it.

It was thought that Main Street might sell 25,000 copies, but, after a few years, it sold several million. This was a huge success and the early 1920s equivalent of having a viral video on YouTube or TikTok. Sinclair also became very wealthy from this book.

Later, Sinclair Lewis became the first American writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Lewis’s book confronted some aspects of life in Sauk Centre that made people in his hometown angry and defensive. Much later, the town came to embrace him and celebrate his writing success. The Sinclair Lewis exhibit at the Minnesota History Center is in Sauk Centre. Also in Sauk Centre is the boyhood home of Sinclair Lewis, which has been restored and is open for visitors.

Sinclair Lewis’s boyhood home is the ninth place on Part One of our Minnesota Author Adventures Trail, and the Minnesota History Center is its final stop. Part Two picks up here and continues on to Walnut Grove.

Part One:

Part Two:

Rebecca Blake Beech