Frank Norris was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1870 to Benjamin Norris and Gertrude Glorvina Doggett. At the age of 17 he went to London and Paris, studied art for two years, then attended University of California Berkeley for four years where he became interested in human evolution through readings of Darwin and Spencer. While attending Berkeley he was a member of the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta and was the creator of the Skull and Keys Society. Norris’ writings are described as containing “depictions of suffering caused by corrupt and greedy turn-of-the century monopolies” but often ending with the idea that “the Truth will, in the end, prevail [.]” Norris’s writing have also been criticised as having been anti semitic. After marrying Jeanette Black and having a child, Norris died on October 25, 1902 of a ruptured appendix at the age of 32.
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Yesenia Checa, “Commentary of the Time,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed December 12, 2017, http://streetstoriesoakland.com/items/show/51.