Owen Wister was born on July 14, 1860, in Germantown, a neighborhood within the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, Owen Jones Wister, was a wealthy physician, one of a long line of Wisters raised at the storied Belfield estate in Germantown. His mother, Sarah Butler Wister, was the daughter of actress Fanny Kemble.EducationHe briefly attended schools in Switzerland and Britain, and later studied at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was a classmate of Theodore Roosevelt, an editor of the Harvard Lampoon and a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Alpha chapter). Wister graduated from Harvard in 1882.At first he aspired to a career in music, and spent two years studying at a Paris conservatory. Thereafter, he worked briefly in a bank in New York before studying law, having graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1888. Following this, he practiced with a Philadelphia firm, but was never truly interested in that career. He was interested in politics, however, and was a staunch Theodore Roosevelt backer. In the 1930s, he opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.Writing careerWister had spent several summers out in the American West, making his first trip to Wyoming in 1885. Like his friend Teddy Roosevelt, Wister was fascinated with the culture, lore and terrain of the region. On an 1893 visit to Yellowstone, Wister met the western artist Frederic Remington; who remained a lifelong friend. When he started writing, he naturally inclined towards fiction set on the western frontier. Wister's most famous work remains the 1902 novel The Virginian, the loosely constructed story of a cowboy who is a natural aristocrat, set against a highly mythologized version of the Johnson County War and taking the side of the large land owners. This is widely regarded as being the first cowboy novel and was reprinted fourteen times in eight months. The book is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt.Personal lifeIn 1898, Wister married Mary Channing, his cousin.The couple had six children.Wister's wife died during childbirth in 1913, as Theodore Roosevelt's first wife had died giving birth to Roosevelt's first daughter, Alice.Wister died at his home in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. He is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.