Sax Rohmer was born Arthur Henry Ward on February 15, 1883, in Birmingham, England. He was the only child of William Ward, an office clerk, and Margaret Furey Ward, an alcoholic homemaker. With his father working long hours and his mother usually in an alcoholic daze, the young Ward was left to develop in his own way. Fortunately, he became a voracious reader, although his reading was chiefly confined to popular novels and to works on the bizarre and foreign. His formal schooling began at the age of nine; he was an unremarkable student, leaving school sometime in the early 1900’s. That he was different from other students is evidenced by his decision, in his late teens, to drop his middle name and to adopt the name of Sarsfield (from an ancestor) in its stead. His interests left him ill prepared for bureaucratic work, and he failed the British civil service examination. He then became a bank clerk.
It was soon obvious that Ward had little interest in the mundane world of finance, and his career in banking was quite brief. He was far more interested in hypnotism, the occult, and archaeology. He turned to writing, becoming a reporter for a weekly newspaper. He also submitted short stories to various popular journals of the day and had his first stories accepted in 1903. Ward soon adopted the pen name Sax (Saxon for blade) Rohmer (for roamer). At first he used it only as his byline; later he used it in his personal life as well. Rohmer met and was married...
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