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Biography's Source: From the publisher
(excerpted from the introduction by John Carr to Federation, a collection of short stories by Piper)
"Horace Beam Piper was born in 1904, the son of a Protestant minister. He had no formal education and at age eighteen went to work as a laborer for the Pennsylvania Railroad's Altoona yards. Throughout his life he was a reticent and guarded man and as a result we know little about his early years. He was largely self-educated; he obtained a deep knowledge of science and history: 'without subjecting myself to the ridiculous misery of four years in the uncomfortable confines of a raccoon coat.' "
"A solitary man to the end, Piper did not tell his friends of his financial predicament. Instead, he took a way out that could only be reasonable to a man who abhorred state handouts and was determined not to burden his friends and family. On Monday, November 9th, 1964, H. Beam Piper shut off all the utilities to his apartment in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, put painter's drop-cloths over the walls and floor, and took his own life with a handgun from his collection. In his suicide note, he gave an explanation that is pure Piper:
'I don't like to leave messes when I go away, but if I could have cleaned up any of this mess, I wouldn't be going away. H. Beam Piper'