Ben Lucien Burman (December 12, 1895, Covington, KY – November 12, 1984, New York City)

Prolific author of novels and children’s books, Burman was the son of Jewish immigrants. He grew up on Eighth St. in Covington before attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio until he left to fight in France during World War I. After the war, Burman finished his college education at Harvard University in 1920. After graduation, he returned to Covington to teach at Holmes High School. During his tenure at the high school he was accused of teaching bolshevism, a serious offense at the time, but he managed to maintain his position. Burman later became editor for the Cincinnati Times-Star while he wrote articles for other national publications. Burman was quite successful: As well as winning the Southern Authors Award and he was nominated to win the Pulitzer Prize, and his novel Steamboat Round the Bend was made into the film Heaven on Earth starring Will Rogers.

During World War II Burman worked as a war correspondent while he was stationed in North Africa and reported on the Vichy government in France. In 1946 his work earned him an award from the French Legion of Honor. When Burman returned to the United States he started work on his “Catfish Bend” stories, satirical fables with animals as the characters. These books, illustrated by his wife Alice Caddy, were very successful.

Burman died in New York City in 1984.


Works Available at KCPL

Collected Writings of Ben Lucien Burman 1923-1954 KR 818.52 B962c

Thunderbolt at Catfish Bend – K

Miracle on the Congo, report From the Free French – KR 940.5344 B962m

The Four Lives of Mundy Tolliver – K

Articles written by Ben Lucien Burman originally published in the Elks Magazine – KR 818.52 B962a

Everywhere I Roam – K

Blow for a Landing – K

The Sign of the Praying Tiger – K R

High Water at Catfish Bend – K BURMA B

Seven Stars for Catfish Bend K R

The Streets of the Laughing Camel – K BURMA B

The Generals Wear Cork Hats: an Amazing Adventure that Made World History – KR 940.5481 B962g

It’s a Big Country: America off the Highways – KR 970 B962i

Steamboat Round the Bend – K

The Owl Hoots Twice at Catfish Bend – K R

Look Down that Winding River, an Informal Profile of the MississippiKR 977 B962L

Blow a Wild Bugle for Catfish Bend – K

High Treason at Catfish Bend – K

Thunderbolt at Catfish Bend – K



“Author Ben Lucian Burman – Deaths Includes Photo,” Kentucky Post, November 13, 1984, 10A.

“Ben Lucien Burman, 88, Author of 22 Books,” New York Times, November 13, 1984, B6.

“Call Special School Board Meeting to Hear Burman Case,” Kentucky Times Star, May 10, 1921, 28.

King, Charles D. “Burman, Ben Lucien.” In The Kentucky Encyclopedia, ed. John E. Kleber. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1992.

“School Dispute in Covington is Deadlocked – Teacher Demands Investigation – Mayor Refuses,” Kentucky Times Star, May 6, 1921, 29.

Tulane Manuscripts Department. “Ben Lucien Burman and Alice Caddy Burman Papers.”

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