Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser (/ˈdraɪsər, -zər/; August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945) was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. His novels often featured main characters who succeeded at their objectives despite a lack of a firm moral code, and literary situations that more closely resemble studies of nature than tales of choice and agency. Dreiser's best known novels include Sister Carrie (1900) and An American Tragedy (1925). In 1930 he was nominated to the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, to Sarah Maria (née Schanab) and John Paul Dreiser. John Dreiser was a German immigrant from Mayen in the Eifel region, and Sarah was from the Mennonite farming community near Dayton, Ohio. Her family disowned her for converting to Roman Catholicism in order to marry John Dreiser. Theodore was the twelfth of thirteen children (the ninth of the ten surviving). Paul Dresser (1857–1906) was one of his older brothers; Paul changed the spelling of his name as he became a popular songwriter. They were reared as Catholics.
After graduating from high school in Warsaw, Indiana, Dreiser attended Indiana University in the years 1889–1890 before dropping out.
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