William Lyon Phelps (January 2, 1865 New Haven, Connecticut - August 21, 1943 New Haven, Connecticut) was an American author, critic and scholar. He taught the first American university course on the modern novel. He was a well-known speaker who drew large crowds. He had a radio show, wrote a daily syndicated newspaper column, lectured frequently, and published numerous popular books and articles.
Phelps father Sylvanus Dryden Phelps was a Baptist minister. William as a child was a friend of Frank Hubbard, the son of Langdon Hubbard, a lumber merchant who founded Huron City, Michigan. Phelps earned a B.A. in 1887, writing an honors thesis on the Idealism of George Berkeley. He earned his A.M. in 1891 from Yale and in the same year his Ph.D. from Harvard. He taught at Harvard for a year, and then returned to Yale where he was offered a position in the English department. He taught at Yale his entire life.
Phelps was engaged to marry Frank's sister Annabel when Langdon Hubbard died. Annabel inherited the family estate and William christened it "The House of the Seven Gables,” after the Nathanial Hawthorne story of the same name. Her father built the house in 1882 on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron. The couple was married on the estate on December 21, 1892 and it became their summer home.