Carbonate Days: O. Henry's First Professional Prospect

The O. Henry Museum is proud to host a reception to celebrate the opening of its new exhibit "Carbonate Days: O. Henry's First Professional Prospect." The exhibit examines a collection of 27 hand-drawn illustrations, created by a 21-year-old William Sydney Porter long before he was known as the short-story master O. Henry. The illustrations, which depict comedic or adventurous narratives that follow themes of the American West in the 1800s, were made to accompany the frontier mining memoirs of Joseph T. Dixon or "Uncle Joe," an eccentric character who had spent several years prospecting in the Rocky Mountains. After the O. Henry Museum acquired the collection in early 2021, the illustrations underwent an extensive conservation process, and have been cleaned, stabilized, and prepared for exhibition. We invite you to come explore this unique, one-of-a-kind collection of illustrations and examine the early and evolving art style of William Sydney Porter, before he became O. Henry.

“As Others See Us”

In 2015, the museum published a “lost” story by Porter, written not under the pen name O. Henry but instead Del Oliver. The story reveals an alcoholic’s decent into madness. The book, featuring original illustrations by Pulitzer-Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Ben Sargent, is currently on display, with Porter’s original, handwritten manuscript.

“Beyond the Veil: Spiritualism in the 19th Century" - Online Exhibit

Athol Estes Porter, William Sydney Porter's first wife, died of tuberculosis on July 25, 1897.  At the time of her death, thousands of Americans followed a new religion called "Spiritualism", which believed that the living could communicate with the dead.  This exhibit explores the roots of Spiritualism and ties in with the museum's Halloween special event "Journey into the Beyond" (October 31st).