Peter B. Kyne

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Peter Bernhard Kyne
Born (1880-10-12)October 12, 1880
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died November 25, 1957(1957-11-25) (aged 77)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Other names Peter Bernard Kyne
Years active 1914–1952

Peter B. Kyne (October 12, 1880 – November 25, 1957) was an American novelist who published between 1904 and 1940. He was born and died in San Francisco, California. Many of his works were adapted into screenplays starting during the silent film era, particularly his first novel, The Three Godfathers, which was published during 1913 and proved to be a huge success. More than 100 films were adapted from his works between 1914 and 1952, many of the earliest without consent or compensation.[1] Kyne also created the character of Cappy Ricks in a series of novels.

Early years[edit]

The son of cattle rancher John Kyne and Mary Cresham, young Kyne worked on his father's ranch then attended a business college where he decided to become a writer.[2]

Military service[edit]

When still younger than 18 years old, he lied about his age and enlisted with Company L, 14th U.S. Infantry nicknamed "the Golden Dragons", which served in the Philippines from 1898 to 1899. The Spanish–American War and the following insurrection of General Emilio Aguinaldo provided background for many of Kyne's later stories.[3] During World War I, he served as a captain of Battery A of the 144th Field Artillery, known as the California Grizzlies"".

Partial filmography[edit]

Adaptations of The Three Godfathers[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

  • The Tracy High School football field and MVP trophy are named after Kyne, whose Bohemian Club friends orchestrated the naming in 1927, Kyne and his Bohemian club friends funded early Tracy High School athletic programs and purchased the land for the eponymous Peter B. Kyne Field.

”There's an old wooden sign in the park [Sequoia Park in Eureka, California] with a quote from Peter B. Kyne's book The Valley of the Giants that says, 'I'm not going to cut the timber in this valley. I haven't the heart to destroy God's most wonderful handiwork. 'Twas in her mind to give her Valley of the Giants to Sequoia (Eureka) for a city park.' I wanted to know who 'she' was,” Armand said.

”She” was the fictional character in Kyne's Humboldt-inspired book The Valley of the Giants wherein a timber baron's wife's wish of saving a favorite stand of redwoods and creating a park in the middle of a city is made possible by her husband after her death.[5][6]


  1. ^ "[W]ork was pillaged, "borrowed," altered, or literally stolen, with no payment to them... [Unlike Lew Wallace,] ...Peter B. Kyne, took this plagiarism in stride," Everson, William K., American Silent Film (Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 102
  2. ^
  3. ^ Guide to the Peter B. Kyne papers at the University of Oregon
  4. ^ According to contemporaneous newspaper reports, Action was based on J. Allan Dunn's novel, The Mascotte of the Three Star; Mascotte appeared as the lead novel in the pulp magazine Short Stories, February 1921. See, for example, the San Francisco Chronicle, September 4, 1921.
  5. ^ "Eureka and Sequoia Park," Dione F. Armand, Arcadia Publishing
  6. ^ "Sequoia Park: New book delves into the history of a community oasis," Sharon Letts, Eureka Times Standard, January 20, 2008

External links[edit]