ist and dramatist best known for his novels, Ruggles of Red Gap
and Merton of the Movies
. His novel, Bunker Bean helped popularize the term flapper
BiographyHarry Leon Wilson was born in Oregon, Illinois
, the son of Samuel and Adeline (née Kidder). Samuel was a newspaper publisher, and Harry learned to set type at an early age. He began work as a stenographer, after leaving home at sixteen. He worked his way west through Topeka
, Denver and eventually to California
. He was a contributor to the histories of Hubert Howe Bancroft
, and became the private secretary to Virgil Bogue
In December 1886, Wilson's story, The Elusive Dollar Bill was accepted by Puck
magazine. He continued to contribute to Puck, and in 1892 became assistant editor. When Henry Cuyler Bunner
died in 1896, Wilson replaced him as editor. The publication of The Spenders allowed Wilson to quit Puck in 1902, and devote himself full time to writing.
I had to live ten years in New YorkNew YorkNew York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
. It was then a simple town, with few street lights north of Forty-second street. Now the place is pretty terrible to me, perhaps the ugliest city in the world. I decided that the only way to get out of New York was to write a successful novel. So I tried with The Spenders and when I got a substantial advance from publishers, I quit my job and beat it for the high hills of Colorado.
—Harry Leon Wilson
Wilson would return to New York, where he met Booth Tarkington
in 1904. Tarkington and Wilson would travel together to Europe in 1905. The two would complete the play, The Man at Home in 1906 in Paris. The play was a resounding success and was followed by more collaborations with Tarkington, but none would repeat the success of the first. Wilson was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1908.
When Wilson returned from Europe
, he settled in Carmel, California. Except for a few brief periods, he would remain there for the rest of his life. It was during this period that Wilson would write the books for which he is most well known. Bunker Bean was published in 1913. followed by Ruggles of Red Gap two years later. After a brief stint in Hollywood, he wrote Merton of the Movies in 1922. A severe auto accident in 1932 greatly affected his health during his remaining years. Wilson died of a brain hemorrhage on June, 28 1939 in Carmel.
PersonalWilson was married three times. His first wife was Wilbertine Nesselrode Teters Worden, whom he married in 1898. The marriage ended in divorce in 1900. In 1902 he married Rose Cecil O'Neill Latham
. O'Neill and Wilson worked together at Puck, and she was the illustrator for four of his books. They divorced in 1907. Wilson married Helen MacGowan Cooke in 1912. They had two children, Harry Leon Wilson, Jr. and Helen Charis Wilson
. Cooke and Wilson divorced in 1927.
- Works by Harry Leon Wilson at Internet ArchiveInternet ArchiveThe Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...
- Harry Leon Wilson Papers, ca. 1879-1939 at the Bancroft LibraryBancroft LibraryThe Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library of the University of California, Berkeley. It was acquired as a gift/purchase from its founder, Hubert Howe Bancroft, with the proviso that it retain the name Bancroft Library in perpetuity...
at the University of CaliforniaUniversity of California, BerkeleyThe University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...