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Boy's Town

Boy's Town is Hamilton in William Dean Howells' book about his boyhood, A Boy's Town, published in 1890. Howells (1837-1920) -- a newspaperman, editor, novelist, poet and literary critic -- was acclaimed as the "dean of American letters" during the final decades of the 19th century. In A Boy's Town, he said "it seemed to me that my Boy's Town was a town peculiarly adapted for a boy to be a boy in."

Howells, who resided in Hamilton between the ages of 3 and 11, later wrote that he considered his "years passed in Hamilton as the gladdest of all my years." Howells wrote about his Boys Town 27 years before another Boys Town gained fame in Nebraska. In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan borrowed $90 to place five youths in a rented Omaha house. He later borrowed more to buy the 160-acre Overlook Farm for homeless boys. A 1938 film, Boys Town, increased public awareness of the project. Girls were accepted for the first time in 1979, and Girls and Boys Town is the name of the national organization. But the community near Omaha is still called Boys Town.

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