Ambrose Bierce Additional Biography


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce was brought up on the farm in Horse Cave Creek, Ohio, where he was born in 1842. Although information about his early life is sparse, the evidence of his stories and the fact that he quarreled with and repudiated his large family with the exception of one brother indicate an unhappy childhood and an abnormal hatred of parental figures. His only formal education consisted of one year at a military academy. He fought with the Indiana infantry in the American Civil War, was wounded at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and ended the conflict as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in California, where, following a brief stint as a watchman at the San Francisco mint, he drifted into literary work. He wrote for the San Francisco Argonaut and News Letter and published his first story, “The Haunted Valley” (1871), in the Overland Monthly. He married and, on money received as a gift from his father-in-law, traveled abroad to England in 1872, returning to California in 1876 because of bad health. Upon his return he again became associated with the Argonaut. From 1879 to 1881 he took part in the Black Hills gold rush, returning in 1881 to San Francisco, having found no success as a miner. There he began, in association with the San Francisco Wap, his famous column “The Prattler,” transferred to William Randolph Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner upon the Wap’s failure, and continued at the Examiner until 1896, when Hearst sent him to Washington as a correspondent for the New York American. Much of Bierce’s subsequently collected work appeared first in “The Prattler.” Divorced in 1904, Bierce resigned from the Hearst organization in 1909 and, in a final quixotic gesture, disappeared into Mexico in the thick of the Mexican Revolution. He was never heard from again.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The tenth of seventeen children, Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was born on June 24, 1842, on a small farm in Horse Cave Creek in southeastern Ohio. To escape life on the frontier (his family soon pushed farther west to Indiana), the boy began to devour every scrap of literature he could obtain on the homestead of his parents. After an uneventful youth, Bierce saw a chance for adventure at the outbreak of the Civil War. He enlisted with the Ninth Indiana Infantry shortly before his twentieth birthday, on April 19, 1861. Serving the Union until the end of the war, Bierce earned a reputation for courage on some of the major battlefields of the Western theater and participated in General William Tecumseh Sherman’s devastating drive through the Carolinas.

After the war, Bierce settled in San Francisco, taught himself writing, and began work as an editor with a regular gossip column in the city’s News Letter. On Christmas Day, 1871, he married well-to-do Mollie Day. Bierce’s in-laws made it possible for the young couple to leave for England, where Bierce wrote for magazines and saw the publication of his first three books, all under the pen name of Dod Grile. Mollie’s return to the United States and the birth of their third child there forced Bierce to return in 1875. The next years saw the death of his parents and an abortive attempt to become the manager of a mining company in the Dakota Territory. Back in San Francisco, Bierce began writing a regular column for William...

(The entire section is 612 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201183-Bierce.jpg Ambrose Bierce. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce (bihrs), journalist, short-story writer, and cynical wit, was born in Horse Cave Creek near Chester, Ohio, on June 24, 1842, on the site of a camp meeting. He later would label his parents, characteristically, as being “unwashed savages.” He disappeared into even greater obscurity at the age of seventy-two, having crossed into Mexico during the revolution; one legend is that he was attached for a time to Pancho Villa’s staff.

Bierce was educated in a country school with no later university training, although much of his literary fame rests upon a severely impeccable style that depends upon grammatical succinctness for effect. In 1861, he entered the Union army as a volunteer private but...

(The entire section is 699 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Ambrose Bierce was born in 1842 in Meigs County, Ohio. His parents were farmers, and he was the tenth of thirteen children, all of whom were...

(The entire section is 390 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Ambrose Bierce was born in Horse Cave Creek, in Meigs County, Ohio, on June 24, 1842, to Laura and Marcus Aurelius Bierce. When Bierce was four years old, the family moved to northern Indiana, and it was there that the writer grew up. He inherited an interest in books from his father and was instructed in religion by his mother.

A career in journalism and an involvement and interest in things military began early for Bierce. He left home at fifteen and worked as a printer’s devil for two years for a local newspaper. At seventeen he entered the Kentucky Military Institute. Shortly after he left the institute, the Civil War broke out, and Bierce was one of the first to enlist in the Ninth Regiment of the Indiana...

(The entire section is 739 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Ambrose Bierce was born in Ohio in 1842. He lived in the Midwest during his childhood, but he attended the Kentucky Military Institute in...

(The entire section is 488 words.)