Francis Bret Harte, 1836-1902



Francis Bret Harte was born in Albany, New York, to a family of little financial means. His father, Henry Hart, was the son of an immigrant who moved to America and became rich. However, Bernard left Henry and his mother to marry another lady. Henry, raised in a Dutch Reformed church, finished his college education but didn't receive a diploma due to the fact that he owed a ninety dollar graduation fee. His education was interrupted many times throughout his early years because the Harts' moved around quite a bit in order to keep from paying the high cost of tuition. Harte learned to entertain his readers by giving them what they wanted. Despite all the works he completed, only a few are remembered. While serving as clerk and superintendent of the new U.S. mint, he met his future wife Anna Griswold. They married in August of 1862. The University of California in Berkeley offered Harte a professor's seat in recent literature, but he declined in pursuit of being promoted further. Even magazines and newspapers offered him such positions as editor, publisher and columnist. Harte continued to write with little public recognition until his death in 1902. 

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Fiction, short stories
From 1868 until early 1871, Harte served as editor of the Overland Monthly magazine. The August 1868 issue included his story The Luck of Roaring Camp. Californians disliked the story at first because it showed California life as rough and unsophisticated and was sympathetic to the tough gold rush miners. But the story soon gained Harte a nationwide reputation.

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