Friday, February 09, 2007

The O. Henry House & Museum, Austin, TX

O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter whose short stories are famous for their ironic endings. He was born in 1862 on a plantation in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1882, he moved to Texas, where he held various jobs, including that of a ranch hand. Two years later, he moved to Austin, and in 1887, he married a local girl, Athol Estes, who was only seventeen years old. In 1895, Porter was accused of embezzlement for the time he worked as a teller at the First National Bank of Austin. Although he denied the charges, he was arrested and skipped bail before the trial began. He returned to Austin in 1897 to see his wife who was dying of tuberculosis. Porter was re-arrested and found guilty and sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary. While in prison, he had a dozen stories published and adopted the name O. Henry. After his release, he never returned to Texas. In 1902, he moved to New York City and wrote hundreds of short stories while living there. He died in 1910 of cirrhosis of the liver.

The O. Henry Award is one the most important short story prizes in America. For information about this prestigious award visit:

At left is a photo of the O. Henry Home and Museum in Austin, Texas which I visited in 2004.

For more information on the O. Henry Museum visit:

To download his short stories free visit:

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