By Barbara Butler And Cliff Aikens
Special To The Standard
BARNARD — This is the second in a series about writer Sinclair Lewis and his home at Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont.
Lewis was already famous when he purchased Twin Farms in 1928. His wife, Dorothy Thompson, wanted a place with “frosty mornings” and he being from tiny Sauk Centre, Minnesota felt right at home in rural Barnard.
Lewis wrote mostly about the small-town America he loved. Main Street, his first major novel had 37 printings. His second, Babbitt was about the prototypical American businessman. Though he was best know as a novelist- particularly after winning the Nobel prize for Literature- he was a prolific writer in total, turning out short stories, essays, plays (in which he sometimes acted) and intellectual discourses.
Much of his material appeared in the popular magazines of the day — Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, Liberty, This Week, and Woman’s Home Companion.
Though Lewis was the first of the literate to come to Barnard, he was not the last. His wife, Dorothy Thompson, soon found her column “On The Record” syndicated internationally by the International Herald Tribune, based in Paris for whom she wrote. Because of her early warnings about Nazi Germany, German playwright Carl Zuckmayer became a refugee, living in Barnard during World War II. His wife, Alice Herndon Zuchmayer wrote a book about the experience when they returned to Germany after the war.
That book “The Little Farm in the Green Mountains” became a best seller in Europe. The Barnard Historical Society has copies in both German and English in its library.
So, in little ole Barnard, Vermont in the 1930’s and 1940’s we had three of the world’s best-known literary figures residing here: Sinclair Lewis, Dorothy Thompson and Carl Zuchmayer. Amazing, and that is why we want to convert the Lewis “writing studio” into the Sinclair Lewis Museum and place it on the Dorothy Thompson Common where it belongs.
The Sinclair Lewis Museum Committee very much hopes that those who desire will become Friends of the Sinclair Lewis Museum by donations. John Noffo-Kahn of Barnard has pledged to match donations which are tax deductible. Checks should be made out to Barnard Silver Lake Association/Sinclair Lewis Museum Committee and mailed to Barnard Historical Society, P. O. Box 124, Barnard, Vermont 05031.
This article first appeared in the November 10th edition of the Vermont Standard.