- The Kenneth Roberts Reader (1945; Williams wrote the introduction)
- The Happy End (1991)
- The Unconquered (1953)
- Owen Glen (1950)
- Fraternity Village (1949; short stories set in the Searsmont area)
- The Diary From Dixie (1949; written by Mary Boykin Chesnut, but edited by Ben Ames Williams)
- House Divided (1947)
- Leave Her To Heaven (1944; his most well known novel)
- Amateurs at War: The American Soldier in Action (1943)
- Time of Peace: September 26, 1930 – December 7, 1941 (1942)
- Come Spring (1940)
- The Strange Woman (1940)
- Thread of Sea (1939)
- The Strumpet Sea (1938)
- Crucible (1937)
- It’s A Free Country (1937)
- Small Town Girl (1935)
- Hostile Valley (1934)
- Mischief (1933)
- Pascal’s Mill (1933)
- Honeyflow (1932)
- Money Musk (1932)
- An End to Mirth (1931)
- Letters from Fraternity (1931)
- Pirate’s Purchase (1931)
- Great Oaks (1930)
- The Dreadful Night (1928)
- Immortal Longings (1927)
- Splendor (1927)
- The Silver Forest (1926)
- The Rational Hind (1925)
- Audacity (1924)
- Thrifty Shock and Other Stories (1923)
- Black Pawl (1922)
- Evered (1921)
- The Great Accident (1920)
- All the Brothers Were Valiant (1919)
- The Sea Bride (1919)
Ben Ames Williams was born in Macon, Mississippi on March 7, 1889 to Daniel Webster Williams and Sara Marshall (Ames) Williams (a niece of General James Longstreet of the Confederate army). His parents moved the family to Jackson, Ohio, where he spent his boyhood. Williams’ father worked as the editor of the Standard Journal for thirty years, and served as a state senator for Ohio. Williams’ mother often read books aloud to him as a child, which fostered his interest in literature.
In 1905, Williams left Ohio and went to West Newton, Massachusetts, to attend the Allen School. The next year he spent in Cardiff, Wales, where his father was an American Consul. In Cardiff, he learned Latin from a tutor. Returning to America in 1906, Williams entered Dartmouth College. He received a B. A. in 1910.
In an autobiographical statement for Wilson’s Biographies, he stated: “I went to work as a reporter on the Boston American in September, 1910, and continued until December, 1916. By that time I had sold a few short stories and short serials, principally to the All-Story Magazine...Since then I have been a professional writer of fiction, and stories of mine have been published in a long list of magazines….Most of these have appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s.”
After Williams settled down in 1912, he married Florence Trafton Talpey of York, Maine, (her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all sea captains) and together they had two sons and a daughter. They all left Boston and moved to Newtonville, Massachusetts. They later moved to Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Boston. These towns and its people were models for a fictional town called Fraternity which he used in his writing.
Their family vacationed at a summer home, a farm called Hardscrable, near Searmont, Maine, which was willed to him by Bert McCorrison. Williams modeled his character Chet McAusland after McCorrison, who shared a love of the outdoors with Williams.
His first book, All the Brothers Were Valiant, was published in 1919. Some of his books, such as Leave Her to Heaven and All the Brothers Were Valiant, were also made into films. He also wrote more than 432 short stories. His subjects included hunting and fishing stories, historical fiction (many about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War), mysteries, and sea stories. Many of his stories were set in Maine. He wrote the edited A Diary from Dixie by Mary Boykin Chestnut.
Dartmouth College and Colby College awarded him honorary degrees for his work. The Miller Library of Colby College has Williams’s papers, and the Dartmouth College Archives contains a large collection of his novels and stories and articles written about him.
Ben Ames Williams died on February 4, 1953, at the age of sixty-three from a heart attack, while playing one of his favorite outdoor games, curling, in Brookline, Massachussets.
- 1889–Born in Macon, Mississippi
- 1889 – Moved to Ohio
- 1904 – Moved to Massachussets
- 1905–Moved to Cardiff Wales
- 1906 – Entered Dartmouth University
- 1910–Graduated from Dartmouth University and joined the Boston American as a reporter
- 1915 – Sold his first story to Smith’s Magazine
- 1916 – Left the job at Boston American
- 1919–First novels The Sea Bride and All the Brothers Were Valiant published
- 1929 – Published Splendor
- 1931 – McCorrison died and left Searsmont farm to Williams
- 1938–The Strumpet Sea first published
- 1942 – Received honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from Colby College
- 1944– Leave Her to Heaven (best known novel) published
- 1947 – House Divided published
- 1948 – Received an honorary degree from Dartmouth College
- 1953– All the Brothers Were Valiant made into award-winning film
- 1953– Died on February 4th of a heart attack.
- 2000–The Strumpet Sea reissued
- Dartmouth College Library has papers of Ben Ames Williams
- Reviewers write to Amazon.com with compliments for Come Spring.
- IMDB page for Ben Ames Williams
- Lloyd, James B. Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967. Jackson, University Press of Mississippi, 1981. 467-469.
- Williams, Ben Ames. The Waterboro Public Library. Online at http://www.waterboro.lib.me.us/maineaut/sz.htm#authorw, May, 2000,
- Williams, Ben Ames. Wilson Biographies on the Web. The H. W. Wilson Company. 1996 Biography from World Authors 1900-1950.
- Ben Ames Williams Collection – Colby University. Online at http://web.colby.edu/csc-history-of/b-a-williams-collection/