BIERCE, AMBROSE. (1842-1914?). American Civil War officer, journalist, satirist (The Devil’s Dictionary) and short-story writer (“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”). SP. (“A.G. Bierce”). 1p. 3¼” x 5”. (1870, San Francisco). An extremely rare and early sepia head-and-shoulders photograph of Bierce taken by Bradley & Rulofson, one of San Francisco’s leading portrait studios.
Bierce’s macabre stories reflect the adventure and mystery of his turbulent life. A Civil War veteran, Bierce settled in San Francisco, where his satirical and scathing observations soon appeared in several newspapers, including William Randolph Hearst’s influential San Francisco Examiner, where he became one of the leading journalists of his time. Stints in London and Washington further enhanced his reputation as a writer of great precision and wit.
By 1909, Bierce, who had resigned from Hearst’s employ the previous year, was back in Washington, where he edited his Collected Works (1909-1912). Though he toyed with the idea of returning to California, “It would have been difficult… to detach himself from Washington and particularly from the bar of the Army and Navy Club,” where out-of-town friends “always looked in first and usually found him holding forth in the bar,” (Ambrose Bierce: A Biography, O’Connor).