O. Henry Museum - Atlas Obscura

O. Henry Museum

The former home of one of America's greatest short story writers is home to an annual pun competition. 


O. Henry is considered one of America’s greatest short-story writers. You might recognize his name from stories like The Gift of the Magi, in which a young couple trades away their most precious belongings to buy gifts for each other. “O. Henry” was the pen name of William Sydney Porter, who was born in North Carolina in 1862. As a young man he traveled to Texas, where he lived for several decades. Today, Porter’s former home in downtown Austin is a museum dedicated to the writer’s life.

Porter lived in this small yellow house between the mid-1880s and mid-1890s. Originally the house was located on a nearby corner lot, but in 1934 it was moved to its current location. Though the building’s location has changed, the inside is filled with original furniture from when Porter, his wife Athol, and their daughter Margaret lived here before they moved to New York in 1902.

At the museum, you can learn about O. Henry or wait to watch (or participate!) in the annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships in May. Check the schedule to participate in limerick writing and other writing activities.

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