Fun Facts Friday: O. Henry

September 11, 2020

O. Henry (11 September, 1862 – 5 June, 1910) was an American writer, known for his short stories.

Books by O. Henry*
Books by O. Henry*

  1. Born in Greensboro, NC as William Sidney Porter to a physician and housewife. His mother died when the author was three years old at childbirth.
  2. By the time he was 19 years old, Mr. Porter was already a licensed pharmacist and his uncle’s drugstore. Along with dispensing drugs, he also sketched the town people.
  3. In 1882 Mr. Porter moved to Austin, Texas hoping the climate would help his persistent cough.
  4. Mr. Porter eloped with Athol Estes because her wealthy family objected to the marriage, as she was ill.
  5. The couple had a son who died several hours after his birth, and a daughter.
  6. Mr. Porter found a job at the First National Bank of Austin. At an audit it was found that something no good was going one and he was accused of embezzlement.
  7. Mr. Porter fled to Honduras, but returned about a year later to face a trial. He was found guilty and sentenced for three years at the Ohio penitentiary.
  8. During his time in jail he focused on writing and took on the nom de plume O. Henry.
  9. Mr. Porter told the New York Times in 1909 that the name “Henry” was from the newspaper and he added the “O” because it was an easy letter.
  10. Because of his famous short story, Gift of the Magi, it has become a tradition to leave sixty cents in pennies on his grave.

Books by O. Henry*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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