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ISBN 1-948697-02-5
ISBN 13 978-1-948697-02-6
Price $17.95
Size 4.75
Format Paperback
Category Local New York History

My Autobiography: Memoirs of a Literary Titan

Before Willa Cather became a Pulitzer-prize winning author, she wrote S.S. McClure's autobiography.

S.S. McClure's story is a true American rags-to-riches tale.  Born into near-poverty in Ireland, McClure immigrated to Indiana with his mother when he was still a boy.  After growing up on a farm in the Midwest, he moved to New York City and launched McClure's Magazine, one of the most influential American publications of all time.  Hugely popular, McClure's introduced to the American public for the first time such literary greats as Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle and J.M. Barrie.  McClure also invented investigative journalism.  In The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin says of McClure's Magazine, "This acclaimed muckraking journal would play a significant role in rousing the country...." McClure's My Autobiography is also a love story.  He spent years courting his future wife as he worked tirelessly to overcome the objections of her upper-class family.

Willa Cather moved to New York City to work for McClure's Magazine in 1906.  She eventually rose to Managing Editor, then left in 1912 to become a full-time writer.  When McClure decided to publish his memoirs, he tapped Cather to ghostwrite it.  While he paced about the room, she wrote.  The result is this compelling tale, exquisitely told, of which Cather said was "better and truer McClure than McClure himself."

The story is his, but the book is hers.

About the Author

Samuel Sidney McClure (1857-1949) was born in Ireland, and emigrated with his brothers and widowed mother to Indiana when he was nine.  He grew up on a farm and worked as a farm hand, butcher, peddler, messboy and school teacher before moving first to Boston, then to New York City where he founded America's first newspaper syndicate.  There he published Jack London, Stephen Crane, and Upton Sinclair, among many others.  McClure later expanded with McClure's Magazine, one of the most important magazines in American literature and journalism.  After leaving the magazine he toured abroad frequently, but New York City remained his home.  He is buried next to his wife in Galesburg, Illinois.

Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born in Virginia, and later moved with her family to Nebraska.  After college she worked as a magazine editor in Pittsburgh.  Cather then moved to New York City to join the widely popular McClure's Magazine.  She rose to become one of the most powerful editors in America, working with such literary greats as Joseph Conrad, A.E. Houseman and William Butler Yeats.  After leaving McClure'sto pursue her career as a writer, Cather went on to become an award-winning American author, of whom Publishers Weekly said, "many readers dearly love." She remained in New York City for the rest of her life. 

    "What a light this life of his throws on our country, with its difficulties and its opportunities.  If you do not read it you are going to miss a big experience and an enjoyable one.  The book is as tonic as a mountain climb, as wholesome, as optimistic, and as genuine." - The New York Times

    "A story so typically American, in reading it one is transported...." - Chicago Tribune

    "The whole is as clean-cut, as simple, as symmetrical, as classic as an elm tree." - Washington Star

    "Something in it is the biography of all readers." - Springfield (Mass.) Union