Peck's Bad Boy


Henry "Hennery" Peck, popularly known as Peck's Bad Boy, is a fictional character created by George Wilbur Peck (1840–1916).[1] First appearing in the 1883 novel Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa, the Bad Boy has appeared in numerous print, stage, and film adaptations. The character is portrayed as a mischievous prankster, and the phrase "Peck's bad boy" has entered the language to refer to anyone whose mischievous or bad behavior leads to annoyance or embarrassment.[2] Described as "a vicious little swaggerer" and "no more than a callous brute",[3] Hennery's antics were more mean-spirited than those of earlier boyhood characters like Huckleberry Finn,[4] and modern criticism views the violence and racism in the original stories as objectionable or politically incorrect.[5][6] The inspiration for Hennery—the Bad Boy—came from Edward James Watson, who was a telegraph messenger boy that Peck met in the early 1880s. Apparently Watson thought up many of the stories used by Peck. Mr Watson had in his possession a letter from Peck "To my friend E. J. Watson, who, as a boy, gave me the first idea that culminated in the Peck's Bad Boy Series".

Jackie Coogan as the Bad Boy in the 1921 film
Hennery gets kicked out of a drug store (art by True Williams)


  • Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa (1883)
  • The Grocery Man and Peck's Bad Boy (1883)
  • Peck's Bad Boy Abroad (1905)
  • The Adventures of Peck's Bad Boy (1906)
  • Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus (1906)
  • Peck's Bad Boy with the Cowboys (1908)
  • Peck's Bad Boy in an Airship (1908)



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Roberts, James P. (2002). "George Wilbur Peck". Famous Wisconsin Authors. Badger Books Inc. pp. 73–77. ISBN 978-1-878569-85-1.
  2. ^ Elizabeth Webber; Mike Feinsilber (1999). Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Allusions. Merriam-Webster. pp. 410. ISBN 978-0-87779-628-2.
  3. ^ Roller, Bert (1931). "The "Bad Boy" in American Literature". Peabody Journal of Education. 8 (5): 291–296. doi:10.1080/01619563109535021. JSTOR 1488396.
  4. ^ Pease, Donald E. (1994). Revisionary Interventions Into the Americanist Canon. Duke University Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-8223-1493-2.
  5. ^ Greasley, Philip A. (2001). "George (W)ilbur Peck". Dictionary of Midwestern Literature, Volume 1: The Authors. Indiana University Press. pp. 406–407. ISBN 0-253-10841-1.
  6. ^ Burt, Daniel S. (2004). The Chronology of American Literature: America's Literary Achievements from the Colonial Era to Modern Times. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 265. ISBN 0-618-16821-4.
  7. ^ "Peck's Bad Boy movies- lesser known". Retrieved 23 March 2018.