March 2, 2020Books & Manuscripts

Before O. Henry: William Sydney Porter’s First Professional Commission

William Sydney Porter, best known to posterity as the author O. Henry, was raised in North Carolina and moved west to Texas as a young man in 1882. After a stint on a sheep ranch, he settled in Austin, TX, where he worked various odd jobs while exploring his interest in writing and drawing. Our winter-spring 2020 sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana on March 10 is set to offer O. Henry’s first professional commission. Here, Rick Stattler, the house’s Americana specialist, tells the story of the mining memoir that never came to be.