George Charles Jenks, newspaperman, novelist, lecturer, and playwright, was born in London, April 13, 1850, the son of George Stillwell Jenks and his wife Eliza Miller. He received what education he had in England but while still in his teens was apprenticed to a printer. He came to America in 1872 and worked at his trade for about ten years, after which he was advanced to reporting. He began newspaper writing in 1882 and was with the Pittsburgh Press for six years. He wrote his first dime novel for Beadle in 1886, and was one of the writers of the "Nick Carter" †and Diamond Dick stories for Street & Smith. He came to New York in 1895, and began his "Ted Strong" stories. Besides these, he wrote short stories for various periodicals and a number of books: "The Official History of the Johnstown Flood" (1890), "The Climax" (1910), "The Deserters" (1911), and "Stop Thief" (1913). He also contributed to the "Cyclopedia of American Biography," did book reviewing for the New York Times, wrote several plays, and lectured on story writing and newspaper work.
In 1878 he was married to Sarah Jane Lambert, who died in 1895. His second wife was Elizabeth J. Aylward, to whom he was married in 1897. She died three months later †August 11, in Clinton, N. J, and in 1899 he married Katherine Baird, who survived him.
Jenks was able to make novel writing pay, for it enabled him to visit Europe several times and finally to retire in 1911 to Owasco, New York, where he died September 13, 1929, after an illness of two weeks. Many of his stories were written under the pen names "W. B. Lawson" and "Nick Carter," but these were also used by Coryell, Dey, Sawyer, and others, being stock names belonging to Street & Smith.
REFERENCES: G. C. Jenks, "Dime Novel Writers," Bookman (N. Y.), October, 1904; Who's Who, 1922-23 to 1928-29; New York Times, September 14, 1929; Journalist, March 14, 1891, 4; Editor and Publisher, LXII, September 21, 1929; Scribner's Dict. Amer. Biog., X, 1933, 51; Appleton's Cyc. Amer. Biog., VIII, 1918, 89-90.
Dime Library. Nos. 398, 432, 507, 526, 538, 554, 572,
719,726, 755, 772, 856, 868, 880, 894, 910
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 485, 492, 513, 581, 598, 608, 616, 681, 736, 779, 854
† Correction made as per Volume 3.