Fun Facts Friday: Bernard Augustine DeVoto

December 11, 2020

Bernard Augustine DeVoto (11 January, 1897–13 November, 1955) was an award winning historian, teacher, essayist, editor and reviewer. He is known for his Pulitzer Prize winning series on the American West.

Fun Facts Friday: Bernard Augustine DeVoto
Books by Bernard DeVoto*

  1. Born in Ogden, Utah, Mr. DeVoto attended the University of Utah for one year before transferring to Harvard (class of 1918).
  2. Mr. DeVoto stopped his studies for one year during World War I to serve in the Army. He would return to Harvard and graduate with the class of 1920.
  3. He started his English teaching career in Northwestern University, while at the same time writing articles and novels.
  4. Mr. DeVoto used to write his novels under the names “John August” and “Cady Hewes”
  5. After five years at Northwestern, Mr. DeVoto resigned and together with his wife, Avis, they tried to make a living from writing. He was still teaching at Harvard part time, but he never managed to attain a permanent position.
  6. Mr. DeVoto published a popular series of articles in Harper’s Magazine, which landed him a regular column called “The Easy Chair” which he wrote from 1935 until his death.
  7. He held liberals views and mocked those who thought that the Soviets will take over America, yet was still called a “fascist” by the left.
  8. The author was also an authority on Mark Twain. Mr. DeVoto served as a curator and editor for Twain’s papers publishing several books including the best sellers Letters From the Earth.
  9. Avis DeVoto, the author’s wife as a book reviewer and editor by her own right. As an avid cook she was instrumental in the publishing of 1961’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Avis and Julia were lifelong friends and Mrs. Child acknowledged Avis immense contribution to the book. As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child & Avis DeVoto by Joan Reardon compiles the facinating letters the two women wrote over decades.
  10. During the 1950s Mr. DeVoto served as a speechwriter for presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson.

Books by Bernard DeVoto*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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