Born William Sydney Porter in 1862, O. Henry wrote under numerous pseudonyms before settling on the one we recognize now. Though he was born in North Carolina and died in New York, his sixteen years in Texas—from 1882 to 1898—made a lasting mark on his life and work. Primarily featuring working class and social outcast characters, O. Henry's work offers glimpses of ordinary lives in New York City and across the American West. The twist endings of stories such as "The Gift of the Magi," "The Ransom of Red Chief," and "The Last Leaf" have continued to inspire readers and writers alike for over a century. O. Henry's former Austin home, now the O. Henry Museum, attracts thousands of visitors annually. More»

Portrait of O. Henry by W. M. Vanderweyde, 1909.