Edward Noyes Westcott was born on September 27th, 1846 in Syracuse, New York.
His career offered two successful trajectories. The first was as a banker. The second was as the author of 'David Harum, A Story of American Life'.
In 1895 Westcott contracted chronic tuberculosis and his rehabilitation necessitated a long absence from work.
Eager to fill the long hours and days he set to work on a novel. Set in upstate New York 'David Harum' focuses on his central character, a small-town banker and horse trader and his life philosophy expressed in the 19th Century dialect of rural central New York.
The manuscript was rejected by six publishers before it came to Ripley Hitchcock at D. Appleton & Company, an eclectic New York publisher in December 1897. Ripley asked for permission to make several minor changes to the book. Westcott agreed, the changes were made and plans for publication agreed.
Sadly, Edward Noyes Westcott died on March 31st, 1898. The book was published six months later in the fall of 1898. It sold an incredible 400,000 copies and became the best-selling book of 1899.