James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper (September 15, 1789 - September 14, 1851) was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century. He is best remembered as a novelist who wrote numerous sea-stories and the historical novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales, featuring frontiersman Natty Bumppo. Among his most famous works is the Romantic novel The Last of the Mohicans, often regarded as his masterpiece.
Jameson Fenimore Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey, the son of William and Elizabeth (Fenimore) Cooper. His father was a United States Congressman. Shortly after his first birthday, his family moved to Cooperstown, New York, a community founded by his father.
At 13, Cooper was enrolled at Yale, but he did not obtain a degree due to being expelled for childish pranks. He obtained work as a sailor on a merchant vessel, and at 18, joined the United States Navy. He obtained the rank of midshipman before leaving in 1811.
At age 21, he married Susan DeLancey. They had seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood. The writer Paul Fenimore Cooper was a great-grandson.
He anonymously published his first book, Precaution (1820). He soon issued several others. In 1823, he published The Pioneers; this was the first of the Leatherstocking series, featuring Natty Bumppo, the resourceful American woodsman at home with the Delaware Indians and especially their chief Chingachgook. Cooper's most famous novel, Last of the Mohicans (1826), became one of the most widely read American novels of the nineteenth century. The book was written in New York City, where Cooper and his family lived from 1822 to 1826.