Image of Charles Dudley Warner


Lifetime: 1829 - 1900 Passed: ≈ 123 years ago


Essayist, Novelist


United States

Charles Dudley Warner

Charles Dudley Warner was an American essayist, novelist, and friend of Mark Twain, with whom he co-authored the novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.

Warner was born of Puritan descent in Plainfield, Massachusetts. From the ages of six to fourteen he lived in Charlemont, Massachusetts, the place and time revisited in his book Being a Boy (1877). He then moved to Cazenovia, New York, and in 1851 graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.

He worked with a surveying party in Missouri and then studied law at the University of Pennsylvania. He moved to Chicago, where he practiced law from 1856 to 1860, when he relocated to Connecticut to become assistant editor of The Hartford Press. By 1861 he had become editor, a position he held until 1867, when the paper merged into The Hartford Courant and he became co-editor with Joseph R. Hawley.

In 1884, he joined the editorial staff of Harper's Magazine, for which he conducted The Editor's Drawer until 1892, when he took charge of The Editor's Study.

He died in Hartford on October 20, 1900, and was interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery, with Mark Twain as a pall bearer and Joseph Twichell officiating.

Warner traveled widely, lectured frequently, and was actively interested in prison reform, city park supervision, and other movements for the public good. He was the first president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and, at the time of his death, was president of the American Social Science Association.

He first attracted attention with the reflective sketches in My Summer in a Garden (1870). First published as a series in The Hartford Courant, these sketches were popular for their abounding and refined humor and mellow personal charm, their love of the outdoors, their suggestive comment on life and affairs, and their delicately finished style, qualities that suggested the work of Washington Irving. In 1873, the work Warner is known for today, the novel he wrote with Mark Twain, was published. Called The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, it gave that era of American history its name.

Books by Charles Dudley Warner

Being a Boy  Cover image

Being a Boy

Non-Fiction Biography
Family Christmas Young Nature Imaginative Autobiography Cruelty Church Memory

Warner said, “The New England boy used to look forward to Thanksgiving as the great event of the year.” The day after was also always a holiday. The boy was given much work to do for many days leading up to the holiday. He might husk corn, prepare sp...

In the Wilderness Cover image

In the Wilderness

hunt Nature Romance Reflection Life

These eight essays about Charles Dudley Warner’s visit to the Adirondacks cover a broad range of topics, all with more or less of his dry humor. They include spoofs of the popular Adirondack ‘sportsman’ stories being published at the time, a plea for...

Summer in a Garden and Calvin, A Study of Character Cover image

Summer in a Garden and Calvin, A Study of Character

This is Warner's contemplative and humorous account of the wondrous and mysterious workings of a garden he tended for 19 weeks. After this is a essay of remembrance for Warner's beloved cat, Calvin. (Summary by Mark Penfold)