Dashiell Hammett (1894 - 1961)

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Samuel Dashiell Hammett
1894 - 1961
May 27, 1894
Saint Marys County, Maryland USA
January 10, 1961
Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York County, New York USA
Dashiell Hammett was born on May 27, 1894 in Maryland USA. He is the child of Anne Bond (Dashiell) and Richard Thomas Hammett. According to his family tree, Samuel was father to 2 children. He married Josephine (Dolan) Hammett on July 7, 1921 in San Francisco, California USA and they later divorced. They had children Mary Jane Hammett and Josephine Hammett. Samuel's partner was Lillian Hellman in 1931. They were together until death separated them on January 10, 1961. He died on January 10, 1961 at Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan, New York USA at 66 years old.
Updated: April 1, 2022
Much of the following biography appears to have been copied from the Wikipedia article about Dashiell Hammett at the following site: [external link] Dashiell Hammett Born Samuel Dashiell Hammett May 27, 1894 St. Mary's County, Maryland, U.S. Died January 10, 1961 (aged 66) Manhattan, New York City, U.S. Occupation Novelist Nationality American Period 1929–1951 Genre: Crime and detective fiction Spouse Josephine Dolan (m. 1921; div. 1937) Partner: Lillian Hellman (1931–1961) Children 2 Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories. He was also a screenwriter and political activist. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). Hammett "is now widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time". In his obituary in The New York Times, he was described as "the dean of the... 'hard-boiled' school of detective fiction." Time magazine included Hammett's 1929 novel Red Harvest on its list of the 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005. His novels and stories also had a significant influence on films, including the genres of private-eye/detective fiction, mystery thrillers, and film-noir. Early life Hammett was born on a farm in Saint Mary's County, Maryland[6] to Richard Thomas Hammett and his wife Anne Bond Dashiell. His mother belonged to an old Maryland family, whose name in French was De Chiel. He had an older sister, Aronia, and a younger brother, Richard, Jr. Known as Sam, Hammett was baptized a Catholic, and grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. He left school when he was 13 years old and held several jobs before working for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He served as an operative for Pinkerton from 1915 to February 1922, with time off to serve in World War I. He claimed that while with the Pinkertons, he was sent to Butte, Montana, during the union strikes, though some researchers doubt this really happened. The agency's role in union strike-breaking eventually left him disillusioned. Hammett enlisted in the United States Army in 1918 and served in the Motor Ambulance Corps. He was afflicted during that time with the Spanish flu and later contracted tuberculosis. He spent most of his time in the Army as a patient at Cushman Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, where he met a nurse, Josephine Dolan, whom he married on July 7, 1921, in San Francisco. Marriage and family Hammett and Dolan had two daughters, Mary Jane (born 1921) and Josephine (born 1926). Shortly after the birth of their second child, health services nurses informed Dolan that due to Hammett's tuberculosis, she and the children should not live with him full-time. Dolan rented a home in San Francisco, where Hammett would visit on weekends. The marriage soon fell apart; however, he continued to financially support his wife and daughters with the income he made from his writing. Hammett was first published in 1922 in the magazine The Smart Set. Known for the authenticity and realism of his writing, he drew on his experiences as a Pinkerton operative. Hammett wrote most of his detective fiction while he was living in San Francisco in the 1920s; streets and other locations in San Francisco are frequently mentioned in his stories. He said that "All my characters were based on people I've known personally, or known about." His novels were some of the first to use dialogue that sounded authentic to the era. "I distrust a man that says when. If he's got to be careful not to drink too much, it's because he's not to be trusted when he does". (The Maltese Falcon, 1929) The bulk of his early work, featuring a private investigator, The Continental Op, appeared in leading crime-fiction pulp magazine, Black Mask. Both Hammett and the magazine struggled in the period when Hammett became established. Raymond Chandler, often considered Hammett's successor, summarized his accomplishments in The Simple Art of Murder: Hammett was the ace performer... He is said to have lacked heart; yet the story he himself thought the most of, The Glass Key, is the record of a man's devotion to a friend. He was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before. In 1929 and 1930, he was romantically involved with Nell Martin, a writer of short stories and several novels. He dedicated The Glass Key to her, and in turn, she dedicated her novel Lovers Should Marry to him. In 1931, Hammett embarked on a 30-year romantic relationship with the playwright Lillian Hellman. Though he sporadically continued to work on material, he wrote his final novel in 1934, more than 25 years before his death. Why he moved away from fiction is not certain; Hellman speculated in a posthumous collection of Hammett's novels, "I think, but I only think, I know a few of the reasons: he wanted to do new kind of work, he was sick for many of those years and getting sicker." In the 1940s, Hellman and he lived at her farm, Hardscrabble Farm, in Pleasantville, New York. Politics and service in World War II In early 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hammett again enlisted in the United States Army. He was a disabled veteran of World War I, a victim of tuberculosis, and a Communist, but he pulled strings to be admitted. However, biographer Diane Johnson suggests that confusion over Hammett's forenames was the reason he was able to re-enlist. He served as a sergeant in the Aleutian Islands, where he edited an Army newspaper entitled The Adakian. In 1943, while still a member of the military, he co-authored The Battle of the Aleutians with Cpl. Robert Colodny, under the direction of an infantry intelligence officer, Major Henry W. Hall. While in the Aleutians, he developed emphysema. After the war, Hammett returned to political activism, "but he played that role with less fervour than before". He was elected president of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) on June 5, 1946, at a meeting held at the Hotel Diplomat in New York City, and "devoted the largest portion of his working time to CRC activities". Imprisonment and the blacklist See also: Smith Act trials of Communist Party leaders The CRC's bail fund gained national attention on November 4, 1949, when bail in the amount of "$260,000 in negotiable government bonds" was posted "to free eleven men appealing their convictions under the Smith Act for criminal conspiracy to teach and advocate the overthrow of the United States government by force and violence." On July 2, 1951, their appeals exhausted, four of the convicted men fled rather than surrender themselves to federal agents and begin serving their sentences. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued subpoenas to the trustees of the CRC bail fund in an attempt to learn the whereabouts of the fugitives. Hammett served time in a West Virginia federal penitentiary, where according to Lillian Hellman, he was assigned to clean toilets. Hellman noted in her eulogy of Hammett that he submitted to prison rather than reveal the names of the contributors to the fund because "he had come to the conclusion that a man should keep his word." Later years and death During the 1950s, Hammett was investigated by Congress. He testified on March 26, 1953, before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his own activities, but refused to cooperate with the committee. No official action was taken, but his stand led to him being blacklisted, along with others who were blacklisted as a result of McCarthyism. Hammett became an alcoholic before working in advertising, and alcoholism continued to trouble him until 1948, when he quit under doctor's orders. However, years of heavy drinking and smoking worsened the tuberculosis he contracted in World War I, and then according to Hellman, "jail had made a thin man thinner, a sick man sicker ... I knew he would now always be sick." Hammett's grave, in Arlington National Cemetery, (section 12, site 508) Hammett died in Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan on January 10, 1961, of lung cancer, diagnosed just two months before. A veteran of both world wars, Hammett was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Legacy Hammett's relationship with Lillian Hellman was portrayed in the 1977 film Julia. Jason Robards won an Oscar for his depiction of Hammett, and Jane Fonda was nominated for her portrayal of Lillian Hellman. Hammett was the subject of a 1982 prime time PBS biography, The Case of Dashiell Hammett, that won a Peabody Award and a special Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Sam Shepard played Hammett in the 1999 Emmy-nominated biographical television film Dash and Lilly along with Judy Davis as Hellman.
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Dashiell Hammett
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Samuel Dashiell Hammett
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Samuel Hammett was born on in Saint Marys County, Maryland USA
Samuel Hammett died on at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York County, New York USA
lung cancer
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Arlington National Cemetery 1 Memorial Avenue, in Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia USA 22211
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Author of detective fiction.

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Served in both world wars.

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Josephine (Dolan) Hammett


Dashiell Hammett

Married: July 7, 1921
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Married at: San Francisco, San Francisco, CA USA
Divorced at:
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Lillian Hellman


Dashiell Hammett

Together: 1931 - January 10, 1961
Cause of Separation: death
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Father to 2 children, he died on January 10, 1961 at Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan, New York USA at 66 years of age. he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia USA. He was born on May 27, 1894 in Maryland USA. Dashiell Hammett is the child of Anne Bond (Dashiell) and Richard Thomas Hammett. According to his family tree, he married Josephine (Dolan) Hammett on July 7, 1921 in San Francisco, California USA and they later divorced. They had children Mary Jane Hammett and Josephine Hammett. Samuel's partner was Lillian Hellman in 1931. They were together until death separated them on January 10, 1961.

1894 - 1961 World Events

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In 1894, in the year that Dashiell Hammett was born, on March 12th, for the first time, Coca-Cola was sold in individual bottles as a drink for consumer consumption. Previously, it was sold as a syrup for upset stomachs - over the counter.

In 1911, he was 17 years old when the first use of aircraft as an offensive weapon occurred in the Turkish-Italian War. First used for aerial reconnaissance alone, planes were then used in aerial combat to shoot down recon planes. In World War I, planes and zeppelins evolved for use in bombing.

In 1930, at the age of 36 years old, Samuel was alive when as head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, William Hays established a code of decency that outlined what was acceptable in films. The public - and government - had felt that films in the '20's had become increasingly risque and that the behavior of its stars was becoming scandalous. Laws were being passed. In response, the heads of the movie studios adopted a voluntary "code", hoping to head off legislation. The first part of the code prohibited "lowering the moral standards of those who see it", called for depictions of the "correct standards of life", and forbade a picture from showing any sort of ridicule towards a law or "creating sympathy for its violation". The second part dealt with particular behavior in film such as homosexuality, the use of specific curse words, and miscegenation.

In 1950, when he was 56 years old, on October 2, Charlie Brown appeared in the first Peanuts comic strip - created by Charles Schultz - and he was the only character in that strip. That year, Schultz said that Charlie was 4 years old, but Charlie aged a bit through the years.

In 1961, in the year of Dashiell Hammett's passing, on May 5th, Navy Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., made the first manned Project Mercury flight, MR-3, in a spacecraft he named Freedom 7. He was the second man to go into space, the first was Yuri Gagarin - a Soviet cosmonaut.

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