38 Facts About Dashiell Hammett


Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American writer of hard-boiled detective novels and short stories.


Dashiell Hammett's mother belonged to an old Maryland family, whose name in French was De Chiel.


Dashiell Hammett had an elder sister, Aronia, and a younger brother, Richard Jr.


Dashiell Hammett's family moved to Baltimore when he was four years old in 1898, and for the most part, it was the city where he lived until he left permanently in 1920 when was 26 years old.


Dashiell Hammett left school when he was 13 years old and held several jobs before working for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.


Dashiell Hammett served as an operative for Pinkerton from 1915 to February 1922, with time off to serve in World War I While working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Baltimore, he learned the trade and worked in the Continental Trust Building.


Dashiell Hammett said that while with the Pinkertons he was sent to Butte, Montana, during the union strikes, though some researchers doubt this really happened.


Dashiell Hammett enlisted in the United States Army in 1918 and served in the Motor Ambulance Corps.


Dashiell Hammett was afflicted during that time with the Spanish flu and later contracted tuberculosis.


Dashiell Hammett 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.


Dolan rented a home in San Francisco, where Dashiell Hammett would visit on weekends.


Dashiell Hammett was first published in 1922 in the magazine The Smart Set.


Dashiell 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.


Dashiell Hammett then took a full-time job as an advertisement copywriter for the Albert S Samuels Co.


Dashiell Hammett was wooed back to writing for the Black Mask by Joseph Thompson Shaw, who became the new editor in the summer of 1926.


Dashiell Hammett dedicated his first novel, Red Harvest, to Shaw and his second novel, The Dain Curse, to Samuels.


Dashiell Hammett dedicated The Glass Key to her, and in turn she dedicated her novel Lovers Should Marry to him.


In 1931, Dashiell Hammett embarked on a 30-year romantic relationship with the playwright Lillian Hellman.


Raymond Chandler, often considered Dashiell Hammett's successor, summarized his accomplishments in The Simple Art of Murder:.


Dashiell Hammett was the ace performer, but there is nothing in his work that is not implicit in the early novels and short stories of Hemingway.


Dashiell Hammett gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse; and with the means at hand, not with hand-wrought dueling pistols, curare, and tropical fish.


Dashiell Hammett is said to have lacked heart, yet the story he thought most of himself [The Glass Key] is the record of a man's devotion to a friend.


Dashiell Hammett was spare, frugal, hard-boiled, but he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all.


Dashiell Hammett wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.


Dashiell Hammett was a strong antifascist throughout the 1930s, and in 1937 joined the Communist Party.


On May 1,1935, Hammett joined the League of American Writers, whose members included Lillian Hellman, Alexander Trachtenberg of International Publishers, Frank Folsom, Louis Untermeyer, I F Stone, Myra Page, Millen Brand, Clifford Odets, and Arthur Miller.


In early 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dashiell Hammett again enlisted in the United States Army.


However, biographer Diane Johnson suggests that confusion over Dashiell Hammett's forenames was the reason he was able to re-enlist.


Dashiell Hammett served as an enlisted man in the Aleutian Islands and initially worked on cryptanalysis on the island of Umnak.


Dashiell Hammett was elected president of the Civil Rights Congress 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".


Dashiell Hammett testified on July 9,1951, in front of United States District Court Judge Sylvester Ryan, facing questioning by Irving Saypol, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described by Time as "the nation's number-one legal hunter of top Communists".


Dashiell Hammett served time in a West Virginia federal penitentiary, where, according to Lillian Hellman, he was assigned to clean toilets.


Dashiell Hammett found himself impoverished due to a combination of the cancellation of radio programs The Adventures of Sam Spade and The Adventures of the Thin Man, and a lien on his income by the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes owed since 1943.


Dashiell Hammett testified on March 26,1953, before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his own activities, but refused to cooperate with the committee.


Dashiell Hammett became an alcoholic before working in advertising, and alcoholism continued to trouble him until 1948, when he quit under doctor's orders.


Dashiell Hammett died in Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan on January 10,1961, of lung cancer, diagnosed just two months before.


Many of Dashiell Hammett's papers are held by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.


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.