Famous 19th Century American Novelists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mark Twain

Mark Twain
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 30, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Florida, Missouri, United States
Died: April 21, 1910

Mark Twain, “the father of American literature,” was one of the world’s greatest 19-th century humorists and authors. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were drawn from his childhood experiences in Missouri. In his later life, he sunk into bankruptcy and also recovered.

 2 F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 24, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Died: December 21, 1940

Novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and short-story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. However, he wasn’t much popular during his lifetime. His works gained international acclaim only in the years following his untimely death at 44. Many of his works have been adapted into films.

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 3 Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 29, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Germantown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 6, 1888
Novelist and short story writer Louisa May Alcott is best remembered as the author of the 1868 novel Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys. She initially wrote using the pseudonym “A. M. Barnard.” She never married and remained a life-long feminist and abolitionist.

 4 William Faulkner

William Faulkner
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Famous As: Writer, Nobel Laureate
Birthdate: September 25, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Albany, Mississippi, U.S
Died: July 6, 1962
Nobel Prize-winning Southern author William Faulkner is remembered for works The Sound and the Fury, A Rose for Emily, and As I Lay Dying. He immortalized Mississippi as the fictional "Yoknapatawpha County" in his works. He also won two Pulitzers, one each for A Fable and The Reivers.

 5 Jack London

Jack London
4
Famous As: Novelist & Journalist
Birthdate: January 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: November 22, 1916

Jack London was an American novelist, social activist, and journalist. A pioneer of American magazines and commercial fiction, London was one of the first authors from the US to become an international celebrity. His life and work inspired several films, such as the 1943 movie Jack London and 1980 film Klondike Fever. He was also portrayed in several TV series.

 6 Herman Melville

Herman Melville
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Birthdate: August 1, 1819
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 28, 1891

Herman Melville was an American short story writer, novelist, and poet. One of his best-known works, Moby-Dick is widely regarded as one of the great American novels, although it did not garner much attention during his lifetime. Livyatan melvillei, a species of an extinct sperm whale, which was discovered in 2010, was named in his honor.  

 7 Henry James

Henry James
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 15, 1843
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
Died: February 28, 1916

Henry James was an author, regarded as one of the greatest novelists ever to write in the English language. One of his novellas titled The Turn of the Screw has been the most analyzed ghost story in the history of English language literature. While his works have been adapted into films, he has been the subject of several other stories.

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 8 Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler
4
Famous As: Novelist and Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 23, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: March 26, 1959

 9 Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne
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Famous As: American Novelist
Birthdate: July 4, 1804
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Salem, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 19, 1864

Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American writer, known for dark romanticism and moral-themed novels and short stories. A descendant of judge John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials infamy, the writer was a friend of late American president Franklin Pierce. His well-known books include Twice-Told Tales, The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. Nathaniel was married to painter Sophia Peabody.

 10 Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair
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Famous As: American writer
Birthdate: September 20, 1878
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Died: November 25, 1968
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and political activist Upton Sinclair is best remembered for his novels such as The Jungle and The Brass Check, which mirrored the exploitative and unjust nature of various sectors. He was also an occult and telepathy enthusiast. He was actively involved with the Socialist and Democratic parties.

 11 Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston
4
Famous As: Folklorist, Anthropologist
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960

Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.

 12 Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Famous As: Creator of Tarzan
Birthdate: September 1, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 19, 1950

 13 P G Wodehouse

P G Wodehouse
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Famous As: Playwright and Author
Birthdate: October 15, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guildford, England
Died: February 14, 1975

 14 Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 3, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Allegheny, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 27, 1946

Gertrude Stein was an American playwright, novelist, poet, and art collector. She is remembered for publishing works about lesbian sexuality, which was considered a taboo at that time. Over the years, Gertrude Stein has been the subject of several works of art. In the 2011 movie Midnight in Paris, Stein was portrayed by Kathy Bates.

 15 Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 24, 1862
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: August 11, 1937

 16 E. B. White

E. B. White
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 11, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, United States
Died: October 1, 1985

 17 Willa Cather

Willa Cather
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: December 7, 1873
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Winchester
Died: April 24, 1947

 18 Rose Wilder Lane

Rose Wilder Lane
4
Famous As: Journalists
Birthdate: December 5, 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: De Smet, South Dakota, USA
Died: October 30, 1968

 19 Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis
4
Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
Birthdate: February 7, 1885
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sauk Centre
Died: January 10, 1951

 20 Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924

 21 Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane
3
Famous As: Writer, Journalist, Poet, Baseball player, Novelist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 1, 1871
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newark
Died: June 5, 1900

 22 Zane Grey

Zane Grey
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 31, 1872
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zanesville, Ohio, USA
Died: October 23, 1939

 23 Lewis Wallace

Lewis Wallace
3
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: April 10, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookville, Indiana, United States
Died: February 15, 1905

 24 John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy
3
Famous As: Nobel Laureate in Literature
Birthdate: August 14, 1867
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames
Died: January 31, 1933

 25 Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: April 17, 1897
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Died: December 7, 1975

 26 Claude McKay

Claude McKay
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1889
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Clarendon Parish
Died: May 22, 1948

Claude McKay was a poet who played an influential role in the Harlem Renaissance. Remembered for his work If We Must Die, a poem written in response to mob attacks on African-American communities by white Americans, McKay was named the national poet of Jamaica in 1977. For his contribution to literature, he was posthumously honored with the Order of Jamaica.

 27 Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes
3
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 12, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Storm King Mountain, New York, United States
Died: June 18, 1982

 28 Sherwood Anderson

Sherwood Anderson
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 13, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ohio, United States
Died: March 8, 1941

 29 Henry Adams

Henry Adams
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: February 16, 1838
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
Died: March 27, 1918

Historian Henry Adams was part of the famous Adams political family of the U.S and a typical Boston Brahmin elite. His best-known work remains his posthumously published autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams, which won a Pulitzer Prize. He also taught medieval history at Harvard.

 30 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
3
Famous As: Writer, Physician
Birthdate: August 29, 1809
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge
Died: October 7, 1894

 31 Sholem Aleichem

Sholem Aleichem
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 2, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi
Died: May 13, 1916

 32 Emily Post

Emily Post
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 27, 1872
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Baltimore
Died: September 25, 1960

 33 Katherine Anne Porter

Katherine Anne Porter
3
Famous As: Journalist, Essayist, Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: May 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Indian Creek, Texas, U.S.
Died: September 18, 1980

 34 Hilda Doolittle

Hilda Doolittle
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 10, 1886
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 27, 1961

 35 Ben Hecht

Ben Hecht
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: February 28, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, U.S.
Died: April 18, 1964

 36 Bret Harte

Bret Harte
3
Famous As: Author & Poet
Birthdate: August 25, 1836
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Albany, New York, U.S.
Died: May 5, 1902

 37 Booth Tarkington

Booth Tarkington
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 29, 1869
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: May 19, 1946

 38 Natalie Clifford Barney

Natalie Clifford Barney
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: October 31, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 2, 1972

 39 B. Traven

B. Traven
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 23, 1882
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Swiebodzin, Poland
Died: March 26, 1969

 40 Nella Larsen

Nella Larsen
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 13, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Died: March 30, 1964

 41 Sarah Josepha Hale

Sarah Josepha Hale
3
Famous As: American author
Birthdate: October 24, 1788
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newport, New Hampshire, United States
Died: April 30, 1879

 42 Ring Lardner

Ring Lardner
3
Famous As: Columnist
Birthdate: March 6, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Niles, Michigan, United States
Died: September 25, 1933

 43 Edward Bellamy

Edward Bellamy
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 26, 1850
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicopee, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 22, 1898

 44 Frank Norris

Frank Norris
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 5, 1870
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S
Died: October 25, 1902

 45 William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 1, 1837
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Martins Ferry, Ohio, U.S.
Died: May 11, 1920

 46 Thomas Dixon Jr.

Thomas Dixon Jr.
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 11, 1864
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shelby, North Carolina, United States
Died: April 3, 1946

 47 Paul Gallico

Paul Gallico
3
Famous As: Journalist, Screenwriter, Novelist, Writer, Children's writer
Birthdate: July 26, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 15, 1976

 48 Lydia Maria Child

Lydia Maria Child
3
Famous As: Novelist, Poet, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: February 11, 1802
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Medford
Died: October 20, 1880

 49 Max Eastman

Max Eastman
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 4, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Canandaigua, New York, United States
Died: March 25, 1969

 50 Stephen Vincent Benét

Stephen Vincent Benét
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 22, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 13, 1943