Image of Frank H. Spearman


Lifetime: 1856 - 1937 Passed: ≈ 86 years ago




United States

Frank H. Spearman

Frank Hamilton Spearman was an American author.

Spearman was known for his books in the Western fiction genre and especially for his fiction and non-fiction works on the topic of railroads. The books were illustrated by leading artists, such as N. C. Wyeth for Whispering Smith.

Although he wrote prolifically about railroads, his actual career was that of a bank president in McCook, Nebraska, and did not himself work for a railroad. Spearman was also a devout Roman Catholic convert and held political views best described as proto-Libertarian, both of which beliefs are also reflected in his novels.

His western novel Whispering Smith—the title character of which was modeled on real-life Union Pacific Railroad detectives Timothy Keliher and Joe Lefors (though the name of the titular hero was apparently derived from another UPRR policeman, James L. "Whispering" Smith)—was made into a movie on eight separate occasions, four silent films in 1916, 1917, 1926, and 1927, with later versions in 1930, 1935, 1948, and 1952. There was also a TV series in 1961.

Most of his novels have been reprinted frequently. For example, The Paper Tiger press brought out reprints in 1996, complete with the original illustrations.

Books by Frank H. Spearman

The Daughter of a Magnate Cover image

The Daughter of a Magnate

Love Nature Action Travel America Accident United States Environment

This is an American Western without any bad guys. The main characters are trains, and the elements---snow, terrain, weather and water. Frank Spearman wrote six novels about the building, and early days, of the transcontinental railroad. This was his...