Tarkington was born in 1869 to an upper middle-class (but not wealthy) family in Indianapolis. Then a city of some 50,000, Tarkington would see his hometown grow ten-fold before his death in 1946. Indianapolis was Tarkington’s primary home and literary inspiration, where he observed a new commercial order, with new families at its vanguard, take root. There he watched a remarkable social revolution unfold as new, democratic manners replaced older, aristocratic ones, and new technologies, especially the automobile, transformed the way people related, physically and imaginatively, to time and space. By the mid-teens he felt called to be this revolution’s literary chronicler.