Bret Harte - California writer
Originator of the American local-color story, Bret Harte wrote of the
lawless, burly life of early California mining camps. Known for his stories
of the American West, he grew up in the East and spent his last years
in England. Francis Bret Harte was born in Albany New York on August 25,
In 1854, his mother, a widow, moved
him to California. In California Harte worked as a miner, school teacher,
express messenger, printer, and journalist. In 1860 he took a job with
a San Francisco newspaper and published the first of his sketches.
While in San Francisco writing for
The Californian he worked with Mark Twain, Charles Warren Stoddard, Prentice
Mulford and the editor, Henry Webb. He contributed many poems and prose
pieces to the paper.
Bret Harte was appointed Secretary
of the United States Branch Mint at San Francisco. He held that office
As editor of the Overland Monthly,
he wrote his most famous stories, "The Luck of Roaring Camp,"
published in 1868, and "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," a year
later. Other stories include "The Twins of Table Mountain" (1879)
and "Ingénue of the Sierras" (1893). A comic poem, `Plain
Language from Truthful James' (1870) is also known as `The Heathen Chinee'.
Bret Harte returned to the East in
1871 a famous man. The Atlantic Monthly paid him a large sum of money
to write for them for a year, but Harte soon ran out of fresh ideas. He
lectured for a time on California life and then served as a United States
consul, first in Crefeld, Germany, and later in Glasgow, Scotland. After
1885 he lived in England.
He died in London on May 5, 1902.
Brown at Calaveras
Outcasts at Poker Flat
The Luck of Roaring Camp