July 14, 1860
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
|Died||July 21, 1938
Saunderstown, Rhode Island
|Spouse(s)||Mary "Molly" Channing Wister (married 1898–1913, her death)|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Legacy
- 3 Bibliography
- 4 Films & TV Series Inspired by The Virginian
- 5 References
- 6 Bibliography
- 7 External links
Owen Wister was born on July 14, 1860, in Germantown, a well-known 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 was a distant cousin of Sally Wister. His mother, Sarah Butler Wister, was the daughter of Fanny Kemble, a British actress, and Pierce (Mease) Butler.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2013)|
Wister briefly attended schools in Switzerland and Britain, and later studied at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was a classmate of Theodore Roosevelt, a member of Hasty Pudding Theatricals, an editor of the Harvard Lampoon, and a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Alpha chapter). As a senior Wister wrote the Hasty Pudding's then most successful show, Dido and Aeneas, whose proceeds aided in the construction of their theater. Wister graduated from Harvard in 1882.
At first he aspired to a career in music and spent two years studying at a Paris conservatory. Thereafter, he worked briefly in a bank in New York before studying law; he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1888. Following this, he practiced with a Philadelphia firm but was never truly interested in that career. He was interested in politics, however, and was a staunch supporter of U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt. In the 1930s, Wister opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal.
He began his literary work in 1891. Wister had spent several summers out in the American West, making his first trip to Wyoming in 1885. Like his friend Teddy Roosevelt, Wister was fascinated with the culture, lore and terrain of the region. On an 1893 visit to Yellowstone, Wister met the western artist Frederic Remington; who remained a lifelong friend. When he started writing, he naturally inclined towards fiction set on the western frontier. Wister's most famous work remains the 1902 novel The Virginian, the loosely constructed story of a cowboy who is a natural aristocrat, set against a highly mythologized version of the Johnson County War and taking the side of the large land owners. This is widely regarded as being the first cowboy novel and was reprinted fourteen times in eight months. The book was written in the library of The Philadelphia Club, where Wister was a member, and is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt.
In 1904 Wister collaborated with Kirke La Shelle on a successful stage adaptation of The Virginian that featured Dustin Farnum in the title role.  Farnum reprised the role ten years later in Cecil B. DeMille's film adaptation of the play.
In 1898, Wister married Mary Channing, his cousin. The couple had six children. Wister's wife died during childbirth in 1913. His daughter, poet Mary Channing Wister, married artist Andrew Dasburg in 1936. The Mary Channing Wister School in Philadelphia is named for her.
Since 1978, University of Wyoming Student Publications has released the literary and arts magazine Owen Wister Review. The magazine was published bi-annually until 1996. It became an annual publication in the spring of 1997.
Near a house that Wister built near La Mesa, California, but never occupied due to his wife's death, is a street called "Wister Drive." In the same neighborhood are found "Virginian Lane" and "Molly Woods Avenue."
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- The Dragon of Wantley: His Tale (1892)
- Lin McLean (1897)
- The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains (novel) (1902)
- Philosophy 4: A Story of Harvard University (1903)
- A Journey in Search of Christmas (1904)
- Lady Baltimore (1906)
- Padre Ignacio: or, the Song of Temptation (1911)
- Romney: And Other New Works about Philadelphia (written 1912–1915; published incomplete 2001)
- Ulysses S. Grant (Wister biography) (1901)
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, in the “American Men of Letters Series” (1902)
- The Bison, Musk-Ox, Sheep, and Goat Family, with G. B. Grinnell and Caspar Whitney in the “American Sportsman's Library” (1903)
- Benjamin Franklin, in the “English Men of Letters Series” (1904)
- The Seven Ages of Washington: A Biography (1907)
- The Pentecost of Calamity (1915)
- The Aftermath of Battle: With the Red Cross in France (1916) (preface to Edward D. Toland's autobiography)
- A Straight Deal: or the Ancient Grudge (1920)
- Neighbors Henceforth (1922)
- A Monograph of the Work of Mellor, Meigs, & Howe (1923) (contributor)
- Roosevelt: The Story of a Friendship, 1880–1919 (1930)
- The Philadelphia Club, 1834–1934 (1934)
- The Illustrations of Frederic Remington (1970) (commentary)
- Red Men and White (1895) (aka Salvation Gap and Other Western Classics)
- The Jimmyjohn Boss and Other Stories (1900)
- Members of the Family (1911) (Illus. H. T. Dunn)
- Safe in the Arms of Croesus (1927)
- When West Was West (1928)
- The West of Owen Wister: Selected Short Stories (1972)
- The New Swiss Family Robinson: A Tale for Children of All Ages, a parody of The Swiss Family Robinson (1882)
- Hank's Woman (1892) (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- How Lin McLean Went East (1892) (incorporated into Lin McLean)
- Em'ly (1893) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- The Winning of the Biscuit-Shooter (1893) (incorporated into Lin McLean)
- Balaam and Pedro (1894) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- The Promised Land (Wister short story) (1894) (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- A Kinsman of Red Cloud (1894) (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- Little Big Horn Medicine (1894) (in Red Men and White)
- Specimen Jones (1894) (in Red Men and White)
- The Serenade at Siskiyou (1894) (in Red Men and White)
- The General's Bluff (1894) (in Red Men and White)
- Salvation Gap (1894) (in Red Men and White)
- Lin McLean's Honey-Moon (1895) (incorporated into Lin McLean)
- The Second Missouri Compromise (1895) (in Red Men and White)
- La Tinaja Bonita (1895) (in Red Men and White)
- A Pilgrim on the Gila (1895) (in Red Men and White)
- Where Fancy Was Bred (1896) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- Separ's Vigilante (1897) (incorporated into Lin McLean)
- Grandmother Stark (1897) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- Sharon's Choice (1897) (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- Destiny at Drybone (1897) (incorporated into Lin McLean)
- Twenty Minutes for Refreshments (1900) (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- Padre Ignazio (1900) (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- The Game and the Nation (1900) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- Mother (1901,1907) (in Safe in the Arms of Croesus)
- Superstition Trail (1901) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- In a State of Sin (1902) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- The Vicious Circle (1902) (in The Saturday Evening Post, December 13, 1902; later revised as Spit-Cat Creek)
- With Malice Aforethought (1902) (incorporated into The Virginian)
- Stanwick's Business (1904) (in Safe in the Arms of Croesus)
- The Jimmyjohn Boss (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- Napoleon Shave-Tail (in The Jimmyjohn Boss)
- Happy Teeth (in Members of the Family)
- Spit-Cat Creek (in Members of the Family)
- In the Back (in Members of the Family)
- How Doth the Simple Spelling Bee (1907) (Illus. Frederic Rodrigo Gruger) (in Safe in the Arms of Croesus)
- Timberline (1908) (in Members of the Family)
- The Gift Horse (1908) (in Members of the Family)
- Extra Dry (1909) (in Members of the Family)
- Where It Was (1911) (in Members of the Family)
- The Drake Who Had Means of His Own (1911) (in Members of the Family)
- Safe in the Arms of Croesus (in Safe in the Arms of Croesus)
- With the Coin of Her Life (in Safe in the Arms of Croesus)
- The Honeymoonshiners (in Safe in the Arms of Croesus)
- Bad Medicine (Wister short story) (in When West Was West)
- Captain Quid (in When West Was West)
- Once Round the Clock (in When West Was West)
- The Right Honorable, The Strawberries (1928) (in When West Was West)
- Little Old Scaffold (1928) (in When West Was West)
- Absalom of Moulting Pelican (1928) (in When West Was West)
- Lone Fountain (in When West Was West)
- Skip to My Loo (in When West Was West)
- At the Sign of the Last Chance (1928) (in When West Was West)
- Where Charity Begins (1895)
- The Evolution of the Cow-Puncher (1895)
- Concerning “Bad Men” The True “Bad Man” of the Frontier, and the Reasons for His Existence (1901)
- Theodore Roosevelt, Harvard '80 (1901)
- The Open Air Education (1902)
- After Four Years (1905)
- High Speed English and American Railroad Flyers (1906)
- The Keystone Crime: Pennsylvania's Graft-Cankered Capitol (1907)
- According to a Passenger (1919)
- How One Bomb Was Made (1921)
- Roosevelt and the 1912 Disaster: A Friend Remembers - and Interprets (1930)
- Roosevelt and the War: A Chapter of Memories (1930)
- John Jay Chapman (Wister essay) (1934)
- In Homage to Mark Twain (1935)
- Old Yellowstone Days (1936)
- "The Pale Cast of Thought" (1890)
- "From Beyond the Sea" (1890)
- "Autumn on Wind River" (1897)
- "In Memoriam" (1902)
- Done In The Open (1902) (Illus. by Frederic Remington)
- "Serenade" (1910)
- Indispensable Information for Infants: Or Easy Entrance to Education (1921)
- Dido and Aeneas (1892)
- Kenilworth (unpublished)
- Listen to Binks (unpublished)
- Montezuma (unpublished)
- Villon (unpublished)
- Watch Your Thirst: A Dry Opera in Three Acts (1923)
- The Dragon of Wantley (unpublished)
- The Honeymoonshiners (published in the story collection Safe in the Arms of Croesus)
- Lin McLean (unpublished)
- Slaves of the Ring (unpublished)
- That Brings Luck (unpublished)
- The Virginian (unpublished)
Films & TV Series Inspired by The Virginian
- The Virginian (1914 film) directed by Cecil B. DeMille, with Dustin Farnum
- The Virginian (1923 film) with Kenneth Harlan and Florence Vidor
- The Virginian (1929 film) with Gary Cooper and Walter Huston
- The Virginian (1946 film) with Joel McCrea and Brian Donlevy
- The Virginian (2000 TV movie) with Bill Pullman, Diane Lane, John Savage, Colm Feore, and Dennis Weaver.
- The Virginian (1962–1971 TV series) with James Drury and Doug McClure
- Nelson, Randy F. The Almanac of American Letters. Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, Inc., 1981: 44. ISBN 0-86576-008-X
- Alan Jalowitz, Owen Wister Biography, Penn State University.
- James A. Butler, The Remarkable Wisters at Belfield, La Salle University, 1994.
- "Owen Wister: Brief Life of a Mythmaker," Harvard Magazine, 2002. by Castle Freeman, Jr.
- "Wister, Owen". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
- Nelson, Randy F. The Almanac of American Letters. Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, Inc., 1981: 287. ISBN 0-86576-008-X
- The Virginian, Internet Broadway Database Retrieved June 20, 2014
- The Virginian (1914), Internet Movie Database Retrieved June 20, 2014
- Eric M. Augenstein, Biography of Mary Channing Wister, La Salle University.
- "Obituary". The New York Times. August 25, 1913. p. 5.
- National Park Service, Glimpses of Our National Parks: The Grand Teton National Park, 2000.
- Kathleen Crawford, "God's Garden": The Grossmont Art Colony, Journal of San Diego History, Fall 1985.
- Helen Ellsberg, The Music Festival San Diego Almost Had, Journal of San Diego History, Winter 1982.
- Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Swiss Family Robinson, The". Encyclopedia Americana.
- Cobbs, J. L. (1984). Owen Wister. Boston: Twayne.
- Payne, D. (1985). Owen Wister: Chronicler of the West, Gentleman of the East. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Owen Wister|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Owen Wister.|
- Article in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wister
- Books and Writers: Owen Wister
- Works by Owen Wister at Project Gutenberg
- Books by Owen Wister at Internet archive
- History of Owen Wister & Medicine Bow, Wyoming
- Owen Wister Review
- Romney, Penn State Press, 2001 Sample chapter available
- La Salle University Local History, Owen Wister and his family at Belfield, now the grounds of La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA
- "Owen Wister" by Richard W. Etulain in the Western Writers Series Digital Editions
- Owen Wister at Find a Grave
- Owen Wister Papers at the University of Wyoming – American Heritage Center