Edward Dentinger Hoch was born on February 22, 1930, in Rochester, New York, the son of Earl G. Hoch and Alice Dentinger Hoch. He tried his hand at writing detective stories during high school and during his two years (1947-1949) at the University of Rochester. (Later, he revised a tale done for a college composition class, and it was published as “The Chippy” in 1956.) He worked for the Rochester Public Library as a researcher from 1949 until November, 1950, when he received his draft notice. He quickly enlisted in the United States Army and spent the next two years stationed at various forts, serving as a member of the military police in 1950 and 1951. While in the army, he continued to write short stories. He received an honorable mention for a story plot he submitted to a cover contest run by The Mysterious Traveler Magazine in 1952, but he could not break into print.
After leaving the army, Hoch looked for a job in the writing or editorial side of a publishing house, eventually landing a position working on “adjustments” for Pocket Books in New York City. Instead of doing creative work, however, he spent his time checking on the accuracy of shipments and accounts. After a year of that, and a raise of only three dollars a week, he returned to Rochester in January, 1954, where he landed work in copywriting and public relations at the Hutchins Advertising Company. He married Patricia McMahon on June 5, 1957.
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