William Dean Howells March 1, 1837 - May 11, 1920) was an American realist novelist, literary critic, and playwright. Nicknamed "The Dean of American Letters," he was particularly known for his tenure as editor of The Atlantic Monthly as well as his own prolific writings, including the Christmas story "Christmas Every Day," and the novels The Rise of Silas Lapham and A Traveler from Altruria. William Dean Howells was born on March 1, 1837, in Martinsville, Ohio (now known as Martins Ferry, Ohio), to William Cooper, and Mary Dean, Howells. He was the second of eight children. His father was a newspaper editor and printer, who moved frequently around Ohio. In 1840, the family settled in Hamilton, Ohio, where William Cooper Howells oversaw a Whig newspaper and followed Swedenborgianism; their nine years there marked the longest they would stay in one place. Though the family had to live frugally, the young Howells was encouraged by his parents in his literary interests. Howells began to help his father with typesetting and printing work at an early age, a job known at the time as a printer's devil. In 1852, his father arranged to have one of Howells' poems published in the Ohio State Journal without telling him.