2012 45¢ O. Henry
Issue Date: September 11, 2012
City: Greensboro, N.C.
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die Cut 11
Author O. Henry’s key to success was simple: “Write what you like; there is no other rule.” This philosophy made him one of the most widely-read and loved authors in American history.
Born in the South during the Civil War, O. Henry’s given name was William Sidney Porter (1862-1910). He moved to Texas as a young man, where he married and worked as a pharmacist, rancher, and bank teller.
Porter left the bank and focused on his fledgling newspaper, the Rolling Stone, until auditors discovered a shortage at his former employer and indicted him for embezzlement. He was convicted and sentenced to five years.
From his prison cell, Porter reinvented himself as O. Henry with short stories characterized by witty prose, plays on words, characters drawn from his own colorful life, and clever endings with surprise plot twists. Moving to New York City, he turned out over 300 stories and earned worldwide recognition before dying at the age of 47 of alcoholism. One of his most popular works is “The Gift of the Magi,” a tender tale of a young couple who sell their most prized possessions to buy Christmas gifts for each other.
The federal courthouse in which he was convicted is the University of Texas’ O. Henry Hall today – an irony its namesake would surely appreciate.