William Dean Howells House

The William Dean Howells House is a house built and occupied by American author William Dean Howells and family. It is located at 37 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The house was designed by Howell's wife, Elinor Mead, and occupied by the family from 1873-1878. Authors including Mark Twain, Henry James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Thomas Bailey Aldrich visited the Howells in this house, as did President James Garfield, and Helen Keller lived there afterwards while attending school.


As early as August 1872, William Dean Howells wrote to his brother-in-law that he had purchased land on Concord Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts for 33 cents per square foot. The family moved into their new home there on July 7, 1873.

The Howells family left the home in 1878, after which they moved to Redtop in Belmont, Massachusetts. By 1900, they had purchased a home near Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Before moving to the Concord Avenue house, the Howells family had lived, from 1866 to 1872, in a house (built in 1857) a few blocks north of Harvard University, at 41 Sacramento Street in Cambridge. In recent times, this house fell into very serious disrepair, but is now (in 2011) being tastefully restored by a local historic-restoration-specialist builder, after consultations with the City of Cambridge Historical Commission.

For a 2008 evaluation of the house by the Cambridge commission, see http://www2.cambridgema.gov/Historic/L89_evaluation.pdf

Unlike the Concord Avenue house, the Sacramento Street house is not on the National Registory of Historic Places, but does have a city of Cambridge historic landmark designation.

Building Activity

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