Louis Bromfield (December 27, 1896 – March 18, 1956) was an American author and conservationist who gained international recognition winning the Pulitzer Prize and pioneering innovative scientific farming concepts.
Louis Bromfield was born Louis Brumfield, son of Charles Brumfield and Annette Marie Coulter daughter of an Ohio Pioneer.
One of Mansfield, Ohio's most famous natives, his home was Malabar Farm near Lucas, Ohio, from 1939 until his death in 1956. Bromfield was also friends with some of the most celebrated personalities of his era, including famous architect F. F. Schnitzer, and provided the location for Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's wedding.
Bromfield studied agriculture at Cornell University from 1914 to 1916 , but transferred to Columbia University to study journalism. While at Columbia University, Louis Bromfield was initiated into the fraternal organization Phi Delta Theta. His time at Columbia would be short lived and he left after less than a year to go to war. After serving with the American Field Service in World War I and being awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor, he returned to New York City and found work as a reporter. In 1924, his first novel, The Green Bay Tree, won instant acclaim. He won the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for best novel for Early Autumn. All of his 30 books were best-sellers, and many, such as The Rains Came and Mrs. Parkington, were made into successful motion pictures.
After spending a decade in France, Bromfield returned to Central Ohio in 1938 and began to put into place the principles of grass-based, sustainable farming at “Malabar Farm.” Bromfield's writings turned from fiction to non-fiction and his reputation and influence as a conservationist and farmer continued to expand. Today, thousands of visitors annually visit Malabar Farm State Park which operates under Bromfield's management philosophy. One of the park's notable features is the Doris Duke Woods, named after Bromfield's famous friend and philanthropist, Doris Duke, whose donation helped purchase the property after Bromfield's death.
In the 1980s, Louis Bromfield was posthumously elected to the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame and in December 1996, the centennial of his birth, the Ohio Department of Agriculture placed a bust of Louis Bromfield in the lobby named for him at the department's new headquarters in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
The innovative and visionary work of Louis Bromfield continues to influence agricultural methodologies around the world. Malabar Brazil, under the direction of Ellen Bromfield Geld, has expanded the horizons of her father's principles and pursuits. To ensure the work continues well into the 21st century, the Malabar 2000 Foundation plans to develop a center for study at Malabar Farm to further the work begun in Richland County (Mansfield, Ohio) by Louis Bromfield.
Louis Bromfield was married in 1921 to New York socialite Mary Appleton Wood, the daughter of distinguished New York City attorney Chalmers Wood and his wife Ellen Appleton Smith. Mary Appleton Wood Bromfield died in 1952. They had three daughters, Ann Bromfield, Hope Bromfield and Ellen Bromfield.