Anthony Abbot was a pen name of Charles Fulton Oursler, who published many books, both fictional and nonfictional, under the name Fulton Oursler. He was born on January 22, 1893, in Baltimore. Abbot’s two sisters died in early childhood. His father worked seven days a week, having supervisory responsibility on a streetcar line; when Abbot was in his teens, however, his father was fired from two jobs, so that the family’s economic position became unstable. As a small child, Abbot was taken by his mother to first-class stage plays in Baltimore; these outings were made possible by the theaters’ donation of tickets to Abbot’s father, whose streetcar schedules accommodated their patrons. During his youth, Abbot read widely and learned to perform magic tricks. His family considered college unaffordable, so he quit school at fifteen and found work as office boy in a law office; he also began to give magic shows at night. While still in his teens, Abbot became a reporter for the Baltimore American, thus taking the first step toward fulfilling the vow he had made three years before, near the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, that he would be a writer.
In 1910, Abbot married Rose Keller Karger; eventually, a son and a daughter were born to them. As a journalist, Abbot met local and national politicians and celebrities such as Sarah Bernhardt. He had been told, however, that the only place to pursue his career was New York City, so in 1918 he obtained work...
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