Max Brand

Today, May 29, is the birthday (1892) of Frederick Schiller Faust, who wrote Westerns under the pen name of Max Brand, primarily. His Westerns were considered to be thoughtful and literary. But he also wrote adventure stories, mysteries, romances, poetry, etc, Because he wrote so many novels and short stories he also used 20 other pen names. 

He was a prodigious writer. He started writing in college, though he never graduated. He wrote about 500 novels, mainly serialized in magazines, and about as many short stories. He may have written more than 30,000,000 words. (For comparison my first novel “Jeremiah Bacon” was 60,000 words long, and my Avalon Westerns were shorter than that.) Besides novels and short stories he also worked as a screenwriter for Hollywood. He was an extremely high paid writer in his day. His work is still regularly reprinted. Books of his are still found in the Westerns section of bookstores. 

But his first love was the poetry he wrote; he held that in much higher regard than his other work. It was the only work to which he attached his real name.

His most famous Western character was Destry, as in the 1939 movie Destry Rides Again, starring James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. But he also created the long-lasting medical character Dr. Kildare, who wound up in movies, radio, television, and comic books.  

He served as a war correspondent in WWII. He was mortally wounded on May 12, 1944 in Italy.