The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Francis Bret Harte, 1836-1902

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1836
Place of Birth: Albany, NY
Date of Death: 1902
Place of Death: London


Francis Bret Harte was a novelist and humorist.


Harte edited the Overland Monthly from 1868 to 1870. In 1870-1 he was Professor of Literature at California University. He made his name as a writer of parodies, e.g. Condensed Novels (1870), humorous poems, e.g. The Heathen Chinee (1868) and sentimental short stories about life in the Californian mining camps. His other publications, which include The Lost Galleon (1867), The Luck of Roaring Camp (1868), Tales of the Argonauts (1875), The Twins of Table Mountain (1879), Snow-bound at Eagle's (1886), A Waif of the Plains (1890) and Under the Redwoods (1901), were notable for their vivid description and humour.

He was U.S. Consul in Creford in 1878-80 and in Glasgow in 1880-85, and from then on lived in England, where he was a member of the private gentleman's club for those interested in the theatre and art, the Gallery Club (#01638). JW and his brother William were also members of this club.

JW and his brother William liked Harte's stories and Alan Summerly Cole recorded in his diary on 29 December 1876 that one social occasion William had read aloud from The Luck of Roaring Camp and The Outcasts of Poker Flat Tennessee's Partner (#13132).

Harte's name was included in JW's guest list for the 1887-88 winter exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists (#13403). He was also among those invited to a dinner being held at the Criterion in Picadilly on 1 May 1889 to congratulate JW on being made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Munich (#09432).


MacMillan Dictionary of American biography (1958-1964), New York.