1855-01-30

HOWARD OVERING STURGIS, the novelist and eccentric was born on this date. A millionaire American expatriate, Sturgis passed his life in England knitting, embroidering and writing novels. He is best known for two: Tim: A Story of Eton and Belchamber. Affable and witty, Sturgis was a favorite with Henry James, Edith Wharton, and A. C. Benson, and the subject of a memorable sketch by E. M. Forster. Sturgis maintained a lifelong relationship with a much younger man, William Haynes-Smith, familiarly known as “the Babe”, to whom his novel “Belchamber” is dedicated.

 

The scion of a wealthy New England family, his parents sent him to be educated at Eton College. He went on to study at Cambridge where he became a friend of the novelists henry James and Edith Wharton.

After the death of his mother in 1888 he moved, with his lover William Haynes-Smith, into a country house named Queen’s Acre, near Windsor Great Park. Sturgis’s first novel, Tim: A Story of School Life (1891), was published anonymously and was dedicated to the “love that surpasses the love of women.” It describes the love of two youths at boarding-school.

He died on February 7, 1920. After his death appreciations of him were published by A.C. Benson, Edith Wharton, E.M. Forster and George Santayana, his cousin.