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William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was born in Martinsville, Ohio, which is now known as Martins Ferry, Ohio. Howells wrote in many genres including, literary criticism, novels, memoirs, plays, poems, and travel narratives. He was interested in many social issues which are not only apparent in “An Imperative Duty,” which deals with race, but also with “Annie Kilburn” which deals with labor issues, and “The Coast of Bohemia” which deals with professions for women (Campbell).

For more information on Howells' biography, please visit: http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/howells/hbio.html