Joseph Hergesheimer (1880-1954) was a prominent American writer of the early 20th century known for his naturalistic novels of decadent life amongst the very wealthy. He initially studied as a painter but quickly turned to writing. He established an early reputation with his first novel The Lay Anthony in 1914. The Three Black Pennys, which followed in 1917, cemented the author's style of dealing with upper-class characters through a floridly descriptive style he referred to as "aestheticism." Hergesheimer also received critical recognition for his novels Java Head (1918), Linda Condon (1919), and Balisand (1924). His last novel The Foolscap Rose appeared in 1934. Amongst his other works are The Happy End (1919), Cytherea (1922), From an Old House (1925), Quiet Cities (1928), Swords and Roses (1929) and The Party Dress (1930).