Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842-1914?) was an American author and satirist best remembered for his cynical collection of definitions known as The Devil's Dictionary. Bierce also penned numerous short stories, often with supernatural themes ("The Damned Thing"), Civil War theme ("A Horseman in the Sky"), or a little of both ("An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"). Bierce's experience as a soldier no doubt influenced his writing, and he performed excellent service for the majority of the Civil War. After receiving a medical discharge in January 1865 for a head wound suffered during combat, Bierce began contributing essays and stories to California newspapers. William Randolph Hearst hired Bierce to write for the San Francisco Examiner in 1887, and Bierce gained notoriety thanks to his brutally cynical columns and editorials. After spending three years editing his Collected Works, Bierce traveled to Mexico to cover the rebellion of Pancho Villa. In 1914, shortly after arriving in Mexico, Bierce vanished without a trace. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance have remained a mystery.
Scope and Content
The Ambrose Bierce Correspondence File consists of letters written by Bierce between 1871 and 1913. The letters are arranged chronologically. Much of the letters are concerned with details of Bierce's multi-volume Collected Works, and a majority are written to the editor of that project, Walter Neale. The letters contain discourse about the contents of the volumes, transportation of proofs, and deadlines. The File also contains an annotated printer's copy of Volume VIII of Bierce's Collected Works, which consists of Negligible Tales and Kings of Beasts.