Nebraska Authors

Sophus Keith Winther

Born 1895-01-01 Soby (DENMARK)

Died 1983-05-10
Seattle, WA (USA)

Sophus Kieth Winther photo, 1976.  Signed dedication to our Nebraska authors collection.

Sophus Kieth Winther photo, 1976. Signed dedication to our Nebraska authors collection.

Born in Denmark, Winther grew up in Weeping Water, Nebraska. Though he left the state at age 18, all but one of his novels was set in Nebraska. He won fame and an enduring international literary reputation with his trilogy about Danish immigration to Nebraska, (the Grimsen Trilogy) which has been translated into Danish. In an early autobiographical sketch (1936), Winther wrote that "My first novel... did not include the name of Nebraska by accident. Nebraska in that title represents something very near to my inner life .... Nebraska remains for me the source of my creative life." Winther was a close friend of Nobel Prize winning American playwright Eugene O'Neill and well acquainted with his beautiful, fiery and unpredictable wife Carlotta Monterey. Winther's 1934 book, Eugene O'Neill, A Critical Study remains an important view of O'Neill's life and writing. The sympathy between the two writers seemed to reflect similar efforts to portray human struggle against unfriendly and amoral social and natural worlds.

The Danish American Archive and Library (originally at the now defunct Dana College), in Blair, Nebraska has a Sophus Keith Winther collection, and the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana, Bloomington (where Winther's brother, Oscar Osborn Winther taught history) also has a Sophus Keith Winther Collection, with an online listing of materials.

Heritage Room collections include a signed photograph, pictured here, and some letters.

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Places Lived

DENMARK
North Branch, NE
Weeping Water, NE
Center, NE
Lincoln, NE
Eugene, OR
Seattle, WA

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction

Keywords

Novels; Eugene O'Neill; Danish Immigration

Education

Bachelor of Science Degree, 1918, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Master of Science Degree, 1919, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Ph.D., 1927, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Occupation

Professor of English
Writer

Places Worked

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Honors

Nebraska 150 Books honor for Take All to Nebraska, 2017
1976 Mari Sandoz Award from the Nebraska Library Association

Associations

Brother of Nebraska Author Oscar Winther

Bibliography

The Realistic War Novel. 1930.
Eugene O'Neill: A Critical Study. 1934.
Take All to Nebraska. 1936.
Mortgage Your Heart. 1937.
This Passion Never Dies. 1938.
Beyond the Garden Gate. 1946.

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