Stephen Crane was born in Newark, NJ in 1871, the son of a Methodist minister. Before he reached twenty-five, Crane had made his mark on the American literary scene by writing two major works: Maggie a Girl of the Streets (1893) and The Red Badge of Courage (1895). He failed a theme-writing course in college at the same time he was writing articles for newspapers, among them the New York Herald Tribune. Maggie, drawn from firsthand observations in the slums of New York, was praised and condemned for its sordid realism. By contrast, The Red Badge of Courage, also praised for its realism, was drawn entirely from newspaper accounts and research, as Crane himself never went to war. Crane's adventurous spirit drove him to Cuba in 1896, providing the experience for his most famous short story, The Open Boat, a tale of sufferings endured by Crane and his three companions aboard a lifeboat after their ship sank. He traveled to Greece as a correspondent, and returned to Cuba to cover the Spanish-American war. At the age of twenty-eight, in failing health, he traveled from England to Germany to recuperate in the healing atmosphere of the Black Forest. While working on a humorous novel, The O'Ruddy, he died in Germany of tuberculosis in June of 1900.