John Steinbeck House
Backstory and Context
The birthplace and childhood home of John Steinbeck was constructed in 1897, and purchased by the Steinbeck family in 1900. The building is a Queen Anne style home, and currently houses The Steinbeck House Restaurant. The home was purchased in 1976 by the Valley Guild, a volunteer organization who sought to showcase local produce in gourmet cooking. Reservations are required.
John Ernst Steinbeck was born February 27, 1902 in his parents’ Salinas, California home (now known simply as The John Steinbeck House). At age 17, Steinbeck began classes at Stanford University. Steinbeck was enrolled as an English major, but also attempted to take courses in the medical school, citing his desire to learn about the human body. He was not permitted to do so, but continued to study at Stanford for six years, though he never earned an official degree.
He began writing seriously after a stint in New York working as a reporter, returning to California to pen a collection of short stories, The Pastures of Heaven (1932). His novels largely grapple with the struggle of the Depression-era American working class. His most well-known novel, The Grapes of Wrath, was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction in 1940. In 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. He died in December. 1968.
His childhood home, The Steinbeck House, is available for group lunch reservations and the space may be rented for events. The house was added to the National Register of Historic places in August, 2000 and is considered a literary landmark.
About Us, The Steinbeck House. Accessed November 24th 2020. http://steinbeckhouse.com/about-us/.
John Steinbeck, Nobel Prize. Accessed November 24th 2020. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1962/steinbeck/biographical/.
John Steinbeck Biography, Encyclopedia of World Biography. Accessed November 24th 2020. https://www.notablebiographies.com/Sc-St/Steinbeck-John.html.