Notes Concerning the Author
Owen Wister (1860 – 1938) was an American writer and considered to have been the ”father” of western fiction. Owen Wister was born in Germantown, an affluent neighborhood in the northwestern part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, Owen Jones Wister, was a wealthy physician, one of a long line of Wisters raised at the storied Belfield estate in Germantown. He attended Harvard Univerisity where he was a classmate and friend of Theodore Roosevelt, a member of Hasty Pudding Theatricals and an editor of the Harvard Lampoon. So, Owen’s early life was both affluent and advantaged, clearly immersed deeply in the Northern culture.
His most important novel was The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains, published in 1902. This was part of his great association with the early settlement of the western plains and novels of that region. Lady Baltimore followed in 1905. He also wrote some notable biographies, including one on U. S. Grant, one on George Washington and a book about his friendship with Teddy Roosevelt, who also love spending time in the great western section of America.
Lady Baltimore is an admiring novel about the people of Charleston, South Carolina in his time, contrasting them favorably with visiting wealthy Northeners. Set in the early 1900′s in South Carolina, the novel is a discussion between a Northern visitor and several different Southerners. Wister shows much sympathy for the plight of the upper echelon white Southerners who felt they lost a complete way of life after the Civil War. Wister does an excellent job of putting the reader in the 1900′s Southern scene. You feel as though you are in the streets of King’s Point, in the churchyard cemetery with the hero and in his friend, at the boarding house dinner table, and on the bottom of a boat moored on a woodland stream.
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