Stephen Crane

1871 –

Poet, novelist, and short story writer Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 1, 1871. His father, Jonathan Crane, a Methodist minister, died in 1880. Crane, the youngest of fourteen children, was raised by his devout mother. He attended preparatory school at Claverack College. in Claverack, New York, from 1888 to 1890. He then spent barely two years in college before moving to New York City.

While trying to find work in New York as a freelance journalist, Crane lived in a boardinghouse for medical students. While there, he wrote Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (D. Appleton and Company, 1896), a short novel about the deleterious effects of industrialism, based on his explorations of the Bowery section of Manhattan. Due to the controversial nature of the book, Crane first self-published it at his own expense. He struggled for a time financially as a result. It was rereleased by a New York publisher three years later, and again in the same year by the London-based publisher William Heinemann.

Later in the 1890s, Crane worked as a foreign correspondent in Cuba, Mexico, and Greece. He reported on the Cuban War of Independence (1895–98) and the Spanish-American War. His best-known short story, “The Open Boat,” was based on his experience of being aboard a ship, the Commodore, that exploded in 1897. In the same year, he reported on the First Greco-Turkish War for the New York Journal. His novel, Active Service (Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1899), was based on his experience of that war. During the time he reported from Cuba, Crane earned the largest salary ever paid to a newspaper correspondent. 

Crane’s other books include the poetry collections War Is Kind (Frederick A. Stokes, 1899) and The Black Riders and Other Lines (Copeland & Day, 1895). He is best-known for his novel, The Red Badge of Courage (D. Appleton & Co., 1895). In 1972, The Complete Poems of Stephen Crane (Cornell University Press) was published. 

Stephen Crane died in Badenweiler, Germany, on June 5, 1900.