Upton Sinclair

Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. was born on September 20th, 1878 in Baltimore, Maryland. The son of an alcoholic liquor salesman and a strict Episcopalian, Sinclair had a difficult childhood.

Sinclair struggled against his mother's strict rules and stopped speaking to her when he was 16 years old. The Sinclairs were a well-respected family in the south but the Civil War ruined their wealth and they became poor in the years after. After this, Sinclair's family moved often so that his father could obtain new jobs. When he was 14 he entered the City College of New York and began writing jokes and articles in boy's magazines to pay for his schooling.

In 1897, he graduated and began attending Columbia University to major in law. He continued to support himself by writing for magazines. Through the usage of stenographers, he wrote up to 8,000 words of pulp fiction per day and began publishing novels when he left Columbia.

In 1900 he married a childhood friend named Meta Fuller and the two had a child the following year. In 1901, he published his first novel "King Midas" which was quickly followed by, "Prince Hagen" (1902), "The Journal of Arthur Stirling" (1903) and, "Manassas" (1904).

In 1904, after spending several weeks undercover in Chicago's meatpacking plants he wrote his best-known novel, "The Jungle" which received critical success and acclaim. With the income from the book, Sinclair formed an experimental community in upstate New York where "authors, artists, and musicians, editors and teachers and professional men' would live together and produce their own food and wares".

The community was started in October of 1906 and but the building burned down in March of the next year and the colony disbanded. After which Sinclair ran as a socialist candidate for Congress, losing the election. Throughout this time, Sinclair published much more articles and novels, both fiction and non-fiction.

In 1913, Sinclair married again to Mary Craig Kimbrough and the two remained married until her death in 1961.

Sinclair had an active political career with the socialist party and suffered much opposition from those opposed to the party including former president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Sinclair ran for many offices within the government and came closest to being governor of California although he never won an election.

In 1961, he married again to Mary Elizabeth Willis and was married to her almost until his death in a nursing home on November 25th, 1968 at the age of 90. He is buried next to his third wife in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C.

The Jungle

"The Jungle" is a novel published in 1906 by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair. Sinclair was a journalist whose main object was typical to expose corruption by government and businesses. In writing "The Jungle" he aimed to produce a novel that exposed the harsh working conditions of immigrants in Chicago during the early 20th century. He spent seven weeks working … [Read more...]