Image of American lawyer and autobiographer Richard Henry Dana Jr.

Richard Henry Dana Jr.

(1815 - 1882)

At the age of nineteen, Richard Henry Dana Jr. left Harvard College in 1834 and became a common sailor aboard a ship bound for California by way of Cape Horn. He resumed his formal education two years later and was admitted to the bar in 1840, the same year he published his account of life at sea, Two Years Before the Mast. It was a success on both sides of the Atlantic, eventually netting some $50,000 for the Harper publishing firm—to whom Dana had sold all the rights for $250. Herman Melville called the book “unmatchable.”

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