Forged by the Snows

145th Birth Anniversary of American Writer and Ecologist James Oliver Curwood


James Oliver "Jim" Curwood (1878 – 1927) was an American action-adventure writer and conservationist.Curwood was born in Owosso, Michigan on June 12, 1878.He left high school without graduating but was able to pass the entrance exams to the University of Michigan where he studied journalism.

In 1900, Curwood sold his first story while working for the Detroit News-Tribune.

By 1909 he had saved enough money to travel to the Canadian northwest, a trip that provided the inspiration for his wilderness adventure stories. The success of his novels afforded him the opportunity to return to the Yukon and Alaska for several months each year that allowed him to write more than thirty such books.

His books ranked among Publisher's Weekly top-ten best sellers in the United States in the early 1920s. At least eighteen motion pictures have been based on or directly inspired by his novels and short stories. At the time of his death, he was the highest paid  author in the world. His writing studio, Curwood Castle, is now a museum in Owosso, Michigan. His most successful work was his 1920 novel, «The River's End». The book sold more than 100,000 copies and was the fourth best-selling title of the year in the United States, according to Publisher's Weekly. In this book: «The Wolf Hunters»,«The Grizzly King Baree», «Son of Kazan A Gentleman of Courage».

By 1922, Curwood's writings had made him a very wealthy man and he fulfilled a childhood fantasy by building Curwood Castle in Owosso. Constructed in the style of an 18th century French chateau, the estate overlooked the Shiawassee River. In one of the home's two large turrets, Curwood set up his writing studio.

An advocate of environmentalism, Curwood was appointed to the Michigan Conservation Commission in 1926. The following year, while on a Florida fishing trip, Curwood was bitten on the thigh by what was believed to have been a spider and had an immediate allergic reaction. Health problems related to the bite escalated over the next few months and infection set in that led to his death from blood poisoning.

Curwood died at the age of 49 on August 13th, 1927. He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Owosso, his Curwood Castle is now a museum.

Curwood Castle, now a small city museum and tourist attraction on the banks of the Shiawassee River in Owosso, Michigan. The castle contains many of his original furnishings, copies of all his popular adventure novels and several oil paintings which serve as illustrations for his adventure stories set in the Canadian North.


Aiman ​​Makhanova, librarian of the International Book Department