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Smitter, Wessel (1894-1951) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Smitter, Wessel (1894-1951)

Historical Note:

Grand Rapids native, Wessel Hyatt Smitter attended Calvin College from 1912 to 1917 and then went off to University of Michigan. Smitter began his career in the auto manufacturing industry in Detroit, Michigan. Smitter took a position in the company's advertising department.  He eventually grew to loathe the manufacturing industry. Smitter decided to move to California to get away from the Motor City.

Once he moved west, Smitter began to sell and transplant full-grown trees to the homes of wealthy Californians. On the side Smitter wrote. He wrote two successful books, F.O.B. Detroit, 1938 and Another Morning, 1941. These books were inspired from his personal experiences of working in the manufacturing industry and traveling to Alaska. The book F.O.B Detroit was made into a movie called Reaching for the Sun in 1941. Smitter also wrote for magazines, such as The Saturday Evening Post and Readers Digest. Wessel Smitter passed away in Eureka, California from a heart attack on November 7, 1954. He was survived by his wife, Faith and their three children.

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