The Master of Irony Is Released from Prison


It was on this day in 1901 that William Sydney Porter was released from prison.

A former pharmacist, bank teller, and sometime journalist, it was Porter’s work as a bank teller that led to his indictment for embezzlement. He fled to Honduras, returning to America only when he learned his wife whom he had planned on joining him in Central America, was diagnosed with tuberculosis and that she was dying. He returned where we was left free on bail. Porter’s wife died in 1897. The following year he was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison.

During all this time he was also writing.

He used various pseudonym’s but eventually settled on O Henry.

He may not have been very good at banking, or, maybe it was embezzling, but it turned out he had an unusually clear eye for the human condition, and our many foibles…

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