The scion of a wealthy Germantown family, Owen Wister (1860–1938) showed promise as a musician early in his life, but his father directed him into a career in banking and then the law. Plagued with neurasthenia, Wister took a variant of the "rest cure" of Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, traveling to Wyoming on Mitchell's advice. From these experiences, Wister began to write short stories about the West. His Western writing culminated in the 1902 publication of The Virginian, the most popular Western ever. In addition to novels, Wister wrote short stories, operas, plays, poetry, and nonfiction, including biographies of Ulysses S. Grant and George Washington.
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