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Bret Harte

Bret HarteAKA Francis Brett Harte

Born: 25-Aug-1836
Birthplace: Albany, NY
Died: 5-May-1902
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: Cancer - Throat
Remains: Buried, St. Peter's Churchyard, Frimley, Surrey, England

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Master of the western short story

American author, born at Albany, New York, on the 25th of August 1839. His father, a professor of Greek at the Albany College, died during his boyhood. After a common-school education he went with his mother to California at the age of seventeen, afterwards working in that state as a teacher, miner, printer, express messenger, secretary of the San Francisco Mint, and editor. His first literary venture was a series of Condensed Novels (travesties of well-known works of fiction, somewhat in the style of Thackeray), published weekly in The Californian, of which he was editor, and reissued in book form in 1867. The Overland Monthly, the earliest considerable literary magazine on the Pacific coast, was established in 1868, with Harte as editor. His sketches and poems, which appeared in its pages during the next few years, attracted wide attention in the eastern states and in Europe.

Bret Harte was an early master of the short story, and his Californian tales were regarded as introducing a new genre into fiction. "The Luck of Roaring Camp" (1868), "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" (1869), the later sketch "How Santa Claus came to Simpson's Bar", and the verses entitled "Plain Language from Truthful James", combined humor, pathos and power of character portrayal in a manner that indicated that the new land of mining-gulches, gamblers, unassimilated Asiatics, and picturesque and varied landscape had found its best delineator; so that Harte became, in his pioneer pictures, a sort of later James Fenimore Cooper. Forty-four volumes were published by him between 1867 and 1889. After a year as professor in the University of California, Harte lived in New York, 1871-78; was United States consul at Crefeld, Germany, 1878-80; consul at Glasgow, 1880-85; and after 1885 resided in London, engaged in literary work. He died at Camberley, England, on the 5th of May 1902.

Father: Henry Hart (d. 1845)
Mother: Elizabeth Rebecca Ostrander Hart
Brother: Henry Harte
Sister: Margaret
Wife: Anna Griswold (m. 1862, two sons, two daughters)
Son: Francis King Harte

    Teacher: La Grange, CA (19-Oct-1857 to 5-Mar-1858)
    Professor: Literature, University of California at Berkeley (1869-71)

    Atlantic Monthly
    US Treasury Department Secretary of the San Francisco Mint (1864-70)
    Wells Fargo Bank messenger, Tuolumne, CA (1857)
    Dutch Ancestry
    English Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Smoking

Appears on postage stamps:
USA, Scott #2196 (5 dollars, issued 25-Aug-1987)

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