The Most Famous Man in America: a Biography of Henry Ward Beecher - by Debby Applegate
Debby Applegate



    Debby Applegate spent 20 years researching and writing about Henry Ward Beecher.  She first discovered Beecher as an undergraduate in the college archives at Amherst College, where she graduated summa cum laude,  continued her work on the preacher as a Sterling Fellow at Yale, where she earned her Ph.D. in American Studies.  Her research over these years spanned from the American Revolution to the Gilded Age, and took her to scores of historical archives and scholarly libraries across the country, from tiny country libraries to ivy-league institutions to the damp basements of elderly Beecher descendents.  Her first book, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the best books of 2006 by the New York Times Book Review, NPR's Fresh Air, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, & American Heritage Magazine.


 Debby has taught at Yale and Wesleyan Universities (some of her syllabi can be found the American Studies Syllabus Library on the web) and currently teaches a master class on writing biography and memoir at the Writing Center at Marymount Manhattan College in New York.  She lives in New Haven, Connecticut with her husband, the business writer Bruce Tulgan, and serves on the governing boards of the ,New Haven Review, the Yale Summer Cabaret and the Friends of the Amherst College Library.


 Debby is currently researching a cultural biography of Polly Adler, Manhattan's most infamous madam from the 1920s through the 1940s, and whose 1953 autobiography, A House is Not a Home, became a best-selling book and a Hollywood film starring Shelley Winters. She would be grateful to hear from anyone with information of any kind about Polly Adler and her milieu, and can be contacted at the address below.



Debby is represented by the Susan Rabiner Literary Agency of New York. 

For questions regarding speaking engagements please contact:

Jeff Coombs at mail[at]

For historical inquiries please contact:
Debby Applegate
125 Lawrence St.
New Haven, CT 06511
fax: 203-772-0886