Enjoy this timeline of the history of Louis Bromfield and Malabar Farm. Discover the books and works of this Pulitzer Prize winning author.
Louis Bromfield is born on December 27th, 1896 at 323 West 3rd Street in Mansfield, Ohio.
Bromfield graduates from Mansfield Senior High School. The family moves to the abandoned Coulter farm. Later this year Bromfield enrolls in Cornell Agricultural College to pursue studies in scientific agriculture.
Bromfield’s college career is short lived. He moves back to Ohio to help his father run the family farm.
Bromfield enrolls at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in September. The Bromfield family farm is sold earlier this year.
Bored with college, Bromfield enlists in the United States Army and transfers to the U.S. Ambulance Service so he can reach Europe sooner. He is attached to the Section Sanitaire Americain No. 557 as an ambulance driver and interpreter. During his service Bromfield participates in seven major battles and is awarded the Croix de Guerre.
Bromfield is discharged from the army in this year. He travels the French country side and observes local farming methods and their concepts of self-sufficiency. Later in the year, Bromfield returns to New York to begin a career in writing.
Hired by the New York City News Service, Bromfield spends his early career reporting on the mental wards of Bellevue Hospital. He soon quits and takes a position as the night editor with the Associated Press.
Despite the objection of his mother, Bromfield marries Mary Appleton Wood on October 16 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The Appleton Family is an established family in New England.
Bromfield pursues positions as a music and play critic and begins writing a weekly column for The Bookman titled The New Yorker. During this year, he is employed with Time Magazine, a new and promising publication. Louis becomes an active member and highly visible personality in the social scene of New York City.
Bromfield’s third attempted fictional novel, The Green Bay Tree, is published. The novel becomes a highly acclaimed best-seller. Bromfield moves to Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, NY after his daughter Anne is born and begins writing full time.
Bromfield releases Possession with great commercial success. Bromfield and family leave for a month long vacation to the French countryside.
Falling in love with France, the family takes a 50 year lease on the Presbytere de St. Etienne in Senlis. Hope (1929) and Ellen (1932) are born. The famous family became known in social circles for their lavish entertaining while in Senlis.
Bromfield’s third novel, Early Autumn, is published.
After receiving a telegram from New York City, Bromfield learns that his 1926 novel, Early Autumn, has received a Pulitzer Prize. The novel, A Good Woman, is published and becomes an instant success. He takes a position for a commercial lecturing enterprise and travels throughout the United States. He completes his contract and returns to France.
The Strange Case of Miss Annie Spragg is published. The successful novel establishes Bromfield as one of America’s most promising young writers.
The first collection of short stories, Awake and Rehearse, is published. Bromfield wins the O. Henry Short Story Award for The Scarlet Woman. Paid $2500 a week, Bromfield returns to the United States to begin writing for Samuel Goldwyn of MGM. He would buy out his contract for $10,000 and prepare to return to France. During this time he meets George Hawkins who would become his business manager and editor for 19 years.
Twenty-Four Hours is published and the movie rights are sold to Paramount. Bromfield returns to Senlis, France.
A Modern Hero is published. The movie rights are sold to Warner Brothers. Mae West debuts in Bromfield’s movie Night After Night. During the winter months, Bromfield vacations in India and ends up staying four months.
The Farm is published and becomes known as one of Bromfield’s best novels. Bromfield begins to openly discuss his interest in purchasing a farm in America or India and is becoming increasingly disinterested in writing fiction. He spends the winter in the states working on a screenplay and two plays.
Bromfield’s plays, De Luxe and Times Have Changed, are produced from 1934 to 1935. They close quickly. RKO Radio produces The Life of Vergie Winters based on Bromfield’s short story from Awake and Rehearse. Here Today and Gone Tomorrow is published.
The Man Who Had Everything is published. The work is written in an autobiographical style and highlights Bromfield’s current frame of mind. Bromfield travels to India and stays for three months.
The Rains Came, a fictional novel set in India, is published. Stokes publishing re-releases his first three novels in a compilation called The Louis Bromfield Trilogy.
With war on the horizon, Bromfield sends his family back to Mansfield, OH where they temporarily live with his parents. Bromfield would join the family later in the year.
Bromfield publishes a series of short stories titled It Takes All Kinds. He writes and publishes a 33-page pamphlet titled England: A Dieing Oligarchy. The pamphlet is a harsh critique of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policies towards Adolf Hitler. While in Ohio, he buys three farms near Lucas, OH and names them “Malabar Farm”. Spending time in Hollywood, Bromfield publishes two screenplays, Bringham young, Frontiersman and It All Came True. The Rains Came, a movie adaptation of his best selling novel, premiers in Mansfield, OH. With the inevitability of war, George Hawkins is sent to Senlis to arrange the shipping of Bromfield’s possessions.
The second India novel, Night In Bombay, is published. Bromfield’s architect, Louis Lameroux, spends the next 18 months designing the “Big house”. Bromfield purchases his fourth farm.
Wild is The River is published. Although a best seller, the book is not well received by the critics. Most of the remaining fictional novels will receive similar responses.
Until The Day Break is published. Malabar Farm is now fully operational.
Mrs. Parkington is published. The novel is well received by even the critics. Johnny Come Lately is released in movie theaters.
The movie rendition, Mrs. Parkington, is released. What Became Of Anna Bolton is released along with a collection of short stories titled The World We Live In. Charles Bromfield, Louis’ father, passes away at Malabar Farm.
Pleasant Valley, Bromfield’s first non-fiction book, is published. The book describes the return to Ohio and the initial years at Malabar Farm.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall marry on May 21, 1945 in the Big House in a private ceremony.
A Few Brass Tacks is published.
Bromfield’s last collection of short stories, Kenny, and his fictional novel Colorado is released. Bromfield’s mother, Annette Coulter Bromfield, passes away in her sleep.
George Hawkins, Bromfield’s manager and editor, dies of a heart attack in his suite at the Hotel St. Regis in New York City. The Wild Country is published. Malabar Farm is released by Harper publishing.
Out of the Earth, another non-fiction work, is published. The book dives extensively into agricultural practices at Malabar Farm. “Malabar Farm, Wichita Falls” in Texas is opened and experiments on semi-arid agriculture. Bromfield serves as an advisor. Daughter hope is married at Malabar Farm. Daughter Ellen is married two weeks later in New York.
Mr. Smith is published. Critics claim this to be one of Bromfield’s worst pieces of fiction.
Mary Bromfield dies in her room at Malabar Farm in September.
Bromfield becomes a consultant for “Malabar do-Brasil”, a commercial agricultural venture based on progressive farming ideas and funded by Brazilian businessmen. Daughter Ellen Bromfield Geld, and her husband, Carson, are selected as managers for the venture despite Bromfield’s wishes.
A New Pattern for A Tired World is published.
Bromfield’s final two books, the non-fiction From my Experience and Animals and Other People, are published. Bromfield writes the screenplay for The Rains of Ranchipur based on his previous book The Rains Came.
Bromfield collapses at Malabar Farm in late February. Having hidden his bone marrow cancer from almost everyone for a year, he dies at University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio on March 18, at the age of 59.