Last week, The John Updike Society announced it had snatched up the author's childhood home at 117 Philadelphia Avenue in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in order to turn it into a museum honoring the Pulitzer Prize winner's life and work.
Such a tribute, while touching, is nothing new -- take a look at five famous authors' homes that have become museums celebrating the former residents.
-- Jennifer M. Wood Condé Nast Traveler
<strong>Hartford, Connecticut</strong> The Mark Twain House & Museum is where the plucky humorist and his family lived from 1874 to 1891, a time Twain would later call the happiest and most productive years of his life. The Victorian Gothic abode was built to the exact specifications of Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens, and his wife, Livy; upon its completion, the author remarked that “It is a home—and the word never had so much meaning before.” Throughout the year the museum presents an array of talks and exhibits, including “Presidential Mark Twain,” a collection of the many comments (good and bad) Twain made about various presidents (and what they said about him). <em>Photo: Courtesy John Groo/The Mark Twain House & Museum</em>
<strong>Oak Park, Illinois</strong> On July 21, 1899, Ernest Hemingway was born in a second floor bedroom of a Queen Anne home in Oak Park, Illinois, and he lived there until the age of six. Meticulously restored by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, the grand Ernest Hemingway Birth Home hints at the origins of the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author’s creativity, particularly in its well-stocked library. Just a short walk away is the Ernest Hemingway Museum, contained within the Arts Center of Oak Park, which features a variety of personal artifacts, including rare photos, the author’s childhood diary, and a letter from Agnes von Kurowsky, the nurse who broke Hemingway’s heart and inspired A Farewell to Arms.
<strong>Oxford, Mississippi</strong> Rowan Oak, the Greek Revival home in Oxford, Mississippi that put the roof over the heads of William Faulkner and his family for more than four decades, has the author’s fingerprints all over it. Literally. In addition to the many renovations the Nobel Prize laureate made himself, the outline Faulkner penciled on the wall of his study for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Fable remains intact. <em>Photo: By Derek Moreton</em>
<strong>Amsterdam</strong> Opened to the public in 1960, The Anne Frank House on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht Canal welcomes more than a million visitors annually, and everyone can pay an in-person visit to The Secret Annex in which Frank and her family hid for two years during the Holocaust. It was here that Frank wrote her famous diaries, which were among the only personal items rescued from the hiding place. Her original writings remain on display in this home-turned-museum. <em>Photo: Courtesy Amy Murrell</em>
The Diary Room at the Anne Frank House
<strong>West Yorkshire, England</strong> If you've ever felt a kinship with Jane Eyre, you'll feel right at home at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the home that protected—and inspired—sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne to write some of the world's most famous novels, Wuthering Heights among them. Photo: Courtesy The Bronte Society
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