Francis Bret Harte (1837 - 1902) was an American author and poet, who worked in a number of different professional capacities including miner, teacher, messenger and journalist before turning to full time writing in 1871.
Bret Harte moved to California in 1853 and spent part of his life in a mining camp near Humboldt Bay (the current town of Arcata), a setting which provided material for some of his works. While The Luck of Roaring Camp (published in 1968) made Bret Harte famous nationwide and helped him to land a writing contract with a publisher in 1871, he faltered and was without a contract by 1872. In 1878 Bret Harte was appointed as United States Consul in Krefeld, Germany and then to Glasgow in 1880. He spent thirty years in Europe, moving to London in 1885. He died in England of throat cancer in 1902.
Bret Harte's literary output improved while he was in Europe and helped to revive his popularity. The Outcasts of Poker Flat and Tennessee's Partner join The Luck of Roaring Camp on the list of his influential works. If you enjoy Harte's works set in western mining camps, you may also enjoy stories by Mary Hallock Foote.