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HAROLD BELL WRIGHT

1872-1944
American

"There is a bond of fellowship in sorrow
that knows no conventionality."

Harold Bell Wright, Wright was born in Rome, Oneida County, New York on May 4, 1872.

When Wright was eleven years old his mother died and his father abandoned the children. For the remainder of his childhood Wright lived with various relatives or strangers, mostly in Ohio. He found odd jobs here and there, frequently sleeping under bridges or in haystacks. In his late teens he found regular employment painting both works of art and houses. After two years of education at Hiram College in Ohio, Wright became a minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Pierce City, Missouri.

Whilst pastoring, he began writing stories for his congregation which were eventually published. The second of these, The Shepherd of the Hills, published in 1907 and set in Branson, Missouri, established him as a best-selling author. In fact, it was later said that he was in fact the first American writer to sell a million copies of a novel and the first to make one million dollars from writing fiction.

Between 1902 and 1942 Wright wrote 19 books, several stage plays, and many magazine articles. More than 15 movies were made or claimed to be made from Wright's stories, including Gary Cooper's first major movie, The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926) and the John Wayne film, The Shepherd of the Hills (1941).

From 1935 until his death in 1944, Wright lived on his "Quiet Hills Farm" near Escondido, California. But whatever city he called home, he travelled much, staying for months at a time in primitive camps, vacation homes, hotels or resorts. Wright usually lived one or two years in a location before using it as the setting for one of his novels.

After struggling most of his life with lung disease, Wright died of bronchial pneumonia in Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California. He was buried in the Cathedral Mausoleum, in Greenwood Memorial Park, in San Diego.

TITLES BY HAROLD BELL WRIGHT

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