O Henry

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O Henry (September 11, 1862 � June 5, 1910) was the [pen name] of American writer William Sydney Porter, whose clever use of twist endings in his stories popularized the term "O. Henry Ending".

Porter was born in Greensboro, North Carolina. His father, Algernon Sidney Porter, was a physician. When William was three, his mother died, and he was raised by his paternal grandmother and aunt. William was an avid reader, but he left school at the age of fifteen.

He relocated to Texas and took a number of different jobs over the next several years, including pharmacist, draftsman, journalist, and bank teller. After moving to Austin, Texas in 1882, he married. He learned Spanish there. In 1884 he started a humorous weekly called "The Rolling Stone". When the weekly failed, he joined the Houston Post as a reporter and columnist. In 1897 he was convicted of embezzling money from the Austin bank where he worked.

O. Henry was released from prison in Columbus, Ohio on July 24, 1901 after serving three years. On release he settled in New York City and began his writing career.

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