The writer of short stories such as "The Luck of Roaring
Camp" grew up in Albany before his family moved to California.
He joined the San Francisco Unitarian Church where Thomas Starr
King helped to guide his writing, reading, and concern for the
abolition of slavery. When Bret founded a newspaper, Northern
California, his outraged editorial condemning drunken townsmen
who had murdered many Indian women and children forced him to
flee for his life.
Hartes writing about California mining camps brought him
leadership of a literary group that included Mark Twain and Ambrose
Bierce. Upon moving to Boston, he was celebrated by Emerson, Lowell,
and Longfellow. That peak of success was followed by failure upon
failure and deepening debt until President Hayes appointed him
to diplomatic posts in Germany and Glasgow.
Volumes of Bret Harte short fiction were published almost every
year during his last twenty years.