born: 9/11/1862 died: 6/5/1910 born as: William Sydney Porter
Pen name of American writer William Sydney Porter, whose clever use of twist endings in his stories popularized the term "O. Henry Ending." Note that his middle name at birth was Sidney, not Sydney; he later changed the spelling of his middle name when he first began writing as a journalist in the 1880s. The annual O. Henry Award for excellence in short story writing is named in his honor.
O. Henry, who was reportedly named after a candy bar, started writing in prison in 1899, and published several books of short stories beginning in 1904 and ending in 1910 when he drank himself to death. Apparently his romantic sentimentality is not to modern tastes, but he's still fun to read. None of his books are rare. Copies in fine condition don't grow on trees, but should still be affordable. One should be prepared to pay quite a bit more for any of the books published during or shortly after his lifetime that are in dustjackets, and/or books that are signed by him; both categories are scarce.