James Oliver Curwood lived most of his life in Owosso, Michigan, where he was born on June 12, 1878. His first novel was The Courage of Captain Plum (1908) & he published one or two novels each year thereafter, until his death on August 13, 1927. Owosso residents honor his name to this day, & Curwood Castle is the town's main tourist attraction.
The Castle, shown in the center illustration (2-b), was built in 1922, in which decade Curwood became one of America's best selling & most highly paid authors. This was the decade of his lasting classics The Valley of Silent Men (1920) & The Flaming Forest (1921). Would that every worthy writer could earn a castle for their labors! He & his wife Ethel were outdoors fanatics & active conservationists. She assisted uncredited on several of his manuscripts & wrote a substantial portion of Green Timber (1930) unfinished at the time of her husband's death.
Green Timber was a tale of settlers in the wilderness of his native Michigan, but the majority of his books were about the far north of Canada. These were rough & tumble adventures, of which readers in the Lower 48 could not get enough. Curwood loved Canada & made many wilderness excursions into the most rugged regions, even wintering among Inuits under the harshest conditions. Today most Americans are pretty ignorant of Canada's grand history, but in Curwood's heyday American children were as apt to play at being red-coated Mounties as they were at being cowboys -- & the Romance of the frozen North was closely identified with this thrilling American writer.
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