William Dean Howells (1837-1920), author, editor and critic was born in Martinsville, Ohio now Martin's Ferry. Howells was widely acknowledged as the "Dean of American Letters" and was elected the first president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1908. The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885) was probably the best known of the 100 over books he wrote. He died from pneumonia on 11 May 1920. Autographed letter signed and dated on 5" x 7" stationery which is pasted at the ends to a thicker paper.