I spent a good portion of the day finding, reading, and saving various articles related to the King family as I gear up to begin writing my book manuscript in greater earnest over the summer. I am staying as organized as I can because my narrative will go from the early 1700s through the 1930s and cross several generations as they navigate their lives and times. I spent a good chunk of today on Charles King, who is credited with seventy years of military service starting in the 1860s through his involvement training troops that soon went off to France to fight in the Great War. He lived until March 15, 1933, dying after a fall two weeks into the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Charles was the great-grandson of Rufus King.
One of the key aspects to Charles King’s life, in addition to his long military service, was his other career as a writer. His work is little read today, but Charles King was the best-selling author of over five dozen books and 150 some odd magazine articles, working in short and long form fiction, non-fiction, and autobiography. Many called him the “American Kipling” because his life and work overlapped so neatly with that Englishman’s. They also covered many of the same topics and themes, King from and American perspective and Kipling from a British one as they bought their small war in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I do not yet know if the reason for Charles King’s current anonymity is due more to the possible outdatedness of his prose or the possible outdatedness of his ideas. Put another way: King’s triumphalist interpretation of how the west was won is looked upon unfavorably today. Here we see one of his stories as published in Lippincotts in 1888. This magazine work was hugely important to writers of all styles and genres in King’s time.
(image/J.B. Lippincott & Co, Philadelphia, PA, 1888)