Edward O'Brien began editing the yearly anthology, The Best American Short Stories, in 1915. Seeking to find the best contemporary American authors, O'Brien's emphasis was on the forward-thinking and progressive, and he shied away from formulaic fiction. He soon built a reputation for recognising promising new writing talent, incorporating work by Sherwood Anderson and Irwin Shaw, amongst others. As far as Hemingway's 'My Old Man' was concerned, O'Brien demonstrated his confidence in an as yet unproven writer, even going so far as to aid in the publication of the collection of short stories that became In Our Time.
He included 'My Old Man' in the 1923 edition of his anthology, dedicating the book to Hemingway.