- Sinclair, Upton Beall
- (1878-1968)Born in Baltimore, Maryland, writer Upton Sinclair graduated from the City College of New York in 1897, briefly attended graduate school at Columbia University, and joined the Socialist Party of America in 1902. Challenged to write a novel about capitalism, Sinclair produced The Jungle in 1906, a study of immigrant life and work in Chicago, Illinois. The descriptions of meatpacking in the book helped secure the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act. Sinclair wrote more than 90 books, mostly works of social protest, including Cry for Justice (1915), King Coal (1917), Oil, (1927), and Boston (1928), dealing with the Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti murder case.Sinclair moved to California after World War I and ran for office as a socialist candidate several times. His greatest achievement in politics came in 1934 when his End Poverty in California movement and his book, I, Governor of California, and How I Ended Poverty (1933), won him the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination. Sinclair’s proposed program of production for use not profit had great appeal. However, a well-financed opposition orchestrated by the largely Republican-owned press led to his defeat, although his campaign helped push the New Deal to the left. Sinclair retired from politics but continued to write, producing such political novels dealing with the rise of Adolf Hitler and fascism as It Can’t Happen Here (1935), which was turned into a dramatic production by the Federal Theater Project; the 1943 Pulitzer Prize-winning Dragon’s Teeth (1942) and the 11-volume Lanny Budd series. The last book in the series, The Return of Lanny Budd (1953), dealt with America’s anti-Soviet position during the Cold War. He published The Autobiography of Upton Sinclair in 1962.See also Literature.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.