Curwood, James Oliver

curwoodjsideviewlgCURWOOD, JAMES OLIVER (1878-1927). James Oliver Curwood, born in Owosso, Michigan, was a popular writer of nonfiction, romance and adventure fiction, and scripts for silent films. Although much of his fiction is set in the Canadian wilderness, his important early work is focused on Great Lakes freighters. While working as a reporter for the Detroit News Tribune, he met dockworkers, sailors, and ship captains. His frequent travel on freighters between Detroit and Thunder Bay at the western end of Lake Superior led to a series of stories and articles, including “Fourteenth Floater o’ Jacob Strauss” (1901), “The Wreck of the Winsome Winny” (1903), “Captain of the Christopher Duggan” (1904), “The Copper Ship” (1905), “The Lake Breed” (1905), “The Fish Pirates” (1909), and “Salvage” (1909). Most of these early stories relied on dialect and viewed Lake shipping as thrilling– similar to that depicted in popular stories of ocean travel–with romantic, long-haired women and adventurous men, mutinous crews, pirates and smugglers, and sinking freighters. Fourteen of these early Great Lakes stories were collected in Falkner of the Inland Seas (1931). Curwood’s first novel, The Courage of Captain Plum(1908), was based on “King” Strang’s Mormon colony on Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island. His non-fiction work, The Great Lakes: The Vessels That Plough Them, the Owners, the Sailors, and Their Cargoes(1909), includes maps, photographs, and a brief history of the Lakes. by Ed Demerly (2000)

“Sailor Jim and His Precious Bible” (1900)

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“Fourteenth Floater o’ Jacob Strauss” (1901)

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“The Wreck of the Winsome Winny” (1903)

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“Captain of the Christopher Duggan” (1904)

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“The Copper Ship” (1905)

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“The Lake Bread” (1905)

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“The Lake Breed” (1905)

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Romance of the Great Lakes (1908)

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“The Fish Pirates” (1909)

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“Salvage” (1909)

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The Great Lakes (1909)

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The Courage of Captain Plum (1912)

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A Collection of Short Stories:

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