Published this day in 1902 – The Virginian is published

wister_virginian_dj_001 Scharnost Owen WisterOn this day in 1902, publishing giant Macmillan printed a novel about the frontier West and the cowboy that became a mythic hero. The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains is considered the first true Western ever written and is loosely based on the Wyoming Johnson County War. From a prominent Philadelphia family, Owen Wister attended Harvard, like his friend Theodore Roosevelt. Like TR, Wister went West to better his health and fell in love with the land and its people. Wister started writing fiction, placing many of his stories on the frontier. On one trip to Yellowstone, Wister met artist Frederic Remington; they remained lifelong friends (a book of their correspondence was published, My dear Wister).  Finally in 1902, his most successful work was published, “The Virginian” which was reprinted 14 times in the first eight months. The book has been made into a half-dozen movies and a very successful TV series. Several books have recently been published on Owen Wister and his legacy. The Virginian is still being read with millions of copies in print.