Charles Caldwell Dobie

Charles Caldwell Dobie was born in San Francisco March 15, 1881, and unlike many California writers who went East after their first success, he continued to live in his native city. He attended local schools and, because of the death of his father and the necessity of contributing to family support, he never went beyond grammar school in formal education. He went into insurance work, starting as an errand boy and eventually becoming office manager. When he was nineteen he joined a class in short story writing inaugurated by W. C. Morrow, the noted journalist and writer. Under his direction, Dobie learned the short story craft. Writing in his spare time, he worked for ten years without selling a line. In October 1910 his first story was published in the San Francisco Argonaut. In 1916 he resigned his insurance position to devote full time to writing. Thereafter he became a regular contributor to leading magazines, including Smart Set, Harper's, Scribner's and Pictorial Review. Many of his stories were selected for inclusion in "best short story" anthologies, notably the Edward J. O'Brien and O. Henry memorial collections. His first novel, The Blood Red Dawn, was published in 1920. Other novels include Broken to the Plow (ca. 1921), Less than Kin (1926) and Portrait of a Courtesan (1934). In addition, he wrote from time to time, a number of newspaper columns, the most famous of which was "The Caliph in San Francisco," appearing in the San Francisco Bulletin, 1925-1926. The books which permanently identified him in the public mind with San Francisco were San Francisco: A Pageant (1933) and San Francisco's Chinatown (1936). Dobie died in his home in San Francisco on January 11, 1943.
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