Posted on 07/24/2020 at 02:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Most of us know O. Henry as the author of the classic short story “The Gift of the Magi.”

Perhaps fewer know him as a man who spent three years in prison for embezzlement, leaving after a three-year sentence on this day in 1901.

Henry — or, rather, William Sydney Porter — had written for newspapers before his time on the lam and then in prison; he returned to writing while incarcerated so that he could provide financially for his daughter.

He built up a loyal fan base during those years and emerged as O. Henry, becoming the master of the surprise ending that we know today.

Read more about his life in Encyclopedia Britannica.

Tagged As: History, Short story

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