Author William Dean Howells (1837-1920) spent his boyhood from 1840 to 1848 in Hamilton. Called the "Dean of American Letters," Howells wrote 35 novels, 35 plays, 34 miscellaneous books, 6 books of literary criticism, 4 books of poetry, and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. He shaped the destiny of fellow writers by editing their works for Atlantic Monthly and Harper's. His autobiography entitled A Boy's Town fondly recalls growing up in Hamilton. Throughout life, he broke in new pens by writing, "W. D. Howells, Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio."