Samuel Dashiell Hammett
The Maltese Falcon (1894-1961 )
- Born in 1894 in St. Mary, Maryland; died of lung cancer in 1961
- Married Josephine Dolan in 1921; separated in 1927 and divorced in 1937; had two
- Attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
- Served in the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps in World War I (1918-1919) and in the U.S. Army
Signal Corps in World War II (1942-1945), became sergeant; buried at Arlington National
- In his early years, worked as a freight clerk, stevedore, timekeeper, yardman, and
- Spent two stints as a detective with Pinkerton National Detective Agency (1914-1918,
- Worked as a San Francisco advertising copywriter in the 1920s.
- Worked sporadically as a screenwriters from 1930 until the end of World War II.
- A Marxist who became active in various left-wing organizations after 1937, including the
Civil Rights Congress, in which he was a local and national officer.
- Convicted and imprisoned for contempt of Congress.
- Faculty member (1946-47, 1949-56) and member of the board of trustees (1948) of
the Jefferson School of Social Sciences.
Red Harvest (1927)
The Dain Curse (1929)
The Maltese Falcon (1930)
The Glass Key (1931)
The Thin Man (1972)
Short Story Collections
$106,000 Blood Money (1943), published as The Big Knockover (1948)
The Adventures of Sam Spade (1944)
The Continental Op (1945)
A Man Called Spade (1945)
The Return of the Continental Op (1945)
Dead Yellow Women (1947)
Nightmare Town (1948)
Creeping Siamese (1950)
Woman in the Dark (1951)
A Man Named Thin (1962)
Biographical Sources, Critical Sources and Reviews
- For critical and biographical information, see the following Gale publications: Contemporary
Authors, Volumes 81-84; Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume
42; Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volumes 5, 10, 19, and 47; and Dictionary
of Literary Biography, Documentary series, Volume 6. Gale Literary Database (Contemporary
Authors Online) can be accessed online through a subscribing library at www.galenet.com.
- Some print resources:
Dashiell Hammett, Underworld USA, Jean-Pierre Deloux, Monaco, 1994.
Hammett, Joe Gorres (1975)
Murder for Pleasure, Howard Haycraft, 1941.
The American Romam Noir: Hammett, Cain, and Chandler, William Marling, Athens,
Hellman and Hammett, Joan Mellon, New york, 1996.
The Critical Response to Dashiell Hammett, ed. Christopher Metress, Westport, CT,
1994. [Table of Contents]
Dashiell Hammet: A Casefook, William F. Nolan, 1969.
- Online resources:
Some of the major sites:
Dashiell Hammett -- A
Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page
The Continental Detective Agency
-- Dashiell Hammett biography, books, and more.
and Creators --Dashiell Hammet
Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961)
The Maltese Falcom FAQ [version 3]
The Black Bird
Sites with summary or special information:
The Arlington National
Cemetery --picture of grave and biography
PBS "American Masters" series description of their special "Dashiell Hammett. Detective.
Writer." including an interview with Hammett's daughter Josephine. PBS Press
Release for "Dashiell Hammett. Detective. Writer."
Hammett's The Maltese Falcon (Chapter Two of Feminine Transgression and
the Hypermasculine Response in the American Hard-Boild Novel by Don Haynes
Dashiell Hammett -- The
Mystery Greats: Mystery Time Line
Dashiell Hammett, Mystery and
Mystery Guide -- The Maltese
Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Of possible interest:
The following review of recent Hammett biographies are available in the New York Times online book archives:
"Books of the Times" by John Leonard, July 8, 1981, a review of Shadow Man,
the Life of Dashiell Hammett.
"Mysteries of a Hard Case" by George Stade, October 16, 1983; and "Books of
the Times" by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, October 5, 1983, both reviews of Diane
Johnson's Dashiell Hammett: A Life.
"Why the Writing Had to Stop" by Julian Symons, May 8, 1983, a review of William
F. Nolan's Hammett, A Life At the Edge.
"Scoundrel Time" by Terry Teachout, June 23, 1996, a review of Joan Mellen's Hellman
Retired Discussion Series