Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (September 20, 1878 - November 25, 1968), educated at Columbia University, political novelist Sinclair published The Jungle (1906), in which he criticized the unsanitary conditions of the American Meat packing industry. His political work eventually led to the Pure Food and Drug Act.
Sinclair was a prolific writer and tireless social activist. One work, The Jungle, chronicled the unhealthy conditions of the meat-packing industry. It spawned a public outcry that helped contribute to the passing of the Pure Food and Drugs Act.
The book chronicles the life of a Lithuanian family of immigrants working in Chicago's Union Stock Yards near the end of the 19th century. It depicted the atrocious living and working conditions, the lack of hygiene, and the deplorable future prospects of the workers. It was meant to show the futility of the capitalist system from a perspective of the working man.
Sinclair became upset with the legacy of the book. He meant for the atrocities he highlighted in the book to demonstrate the poor conditions that workers faced, not to inspire a public health revolution concerning the meat packing industry. He felt the health movement outshone the story of the wage earners lamenting, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
Sinclair was born on September 20, 1878 in Baltimore, Maryland and later moved to New York City, but spent the majority of his life in Pasadena, California.