Lewis Stiles Gannett (1891-1966)
Where: Town Street
Gannett was born in Rochester, New York, and studied at Harvard, receiving his master’s degree in 1915. During the academic year of 1913-1914 Gannett studied social ethics and economics in Berlin. Gannett married Mary Elizabeth Ross in 1917. They were divorced in 1930 after having two children, Michael and Ruth Stiles Gannett.
Gannett’s first position was as a cub reporter for the New York World, until the United States entered World War I. To avoid conscription Gannett did relief work for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization. He was in France from 1917 to 1919, after which he covered the Versailles Conference for the Survey. In 1919 Gannett returned to America and began working as an associate editor, foreign correspondent, and business manager for The Nation.
During the 1920s, working for The Nation, Gannett reported from postwar Europe and Russia; was invited to serve as treasurer for the American Fund for Public Service, a position that he held until 1941; and traveled to China with Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Michail Borodin.
Gannett joined the New York Herald Tribune in 1930. For the first year Gannett wrote a review column three times a week and in 1931 began his daily review column “Books and Things,” for which he is perhaps best known. Gannett remained with the New York Herald Tribune until his retirement in 1956. Although retired, Gannett judged several book awards and served as editor of the Mainstream in America series, as well as tending his gardens at his home on Cream Hill with his wife, Ruth Chrisman Gannett.
After a weekend visit to Cornwall to see his friends Mark and Dorothy Van Doren in the late 1920s, Gannett fell in love with Cornwall, and purchased a home on Cream Hill, which he later wrote a book about of the same name. Gannett lived weekends in Cornwall until his retirement, when he settled in Cornwall full time. Gannett died in Cornwall in 1966.
Image from the Collection of the Cornwall Historical Society