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Profile of the Day: O. Henry

On this day in 1862, short story author William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name O. Henry, was born. A prolific writer, Porter’s clever wordplay and twist endings made him one of the most popular American short story writers of his time.

Profile of the Day: O. Henry

Image: O. Henry / Wikimedia Commons

Porter was born on September 11, 1862 in Greensboro, North Carolina. As a child, he enjoyed reading  everything from the classics to dime novels. Porter worked at his uncle’s drugstore and by the age of 19, was a licensed as a pharmacist. He later moved to Texas and held a series of jobs, including a draftsman and a bank teller. In 1896, he was accused of embezzlement and arrested. Porter fled to Honduras only to return a few months later when his wife became fatally ill. He ultimately served 3 years in prison.

He published several stories during his time in prison under various pseudonyms, becoming best known as O. Henry. After prison, he continued publishing stories as O. Henry. Some of his most well known stories include “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Cop and the Anthem,” and “The Ransom of Red Chief.”

Porter died on June 5, 1910 at the age of 47.

View O. Henry’s Geni Profile


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