E. B. White
White on the beach with his dachshund Minnie
Elwyn Brooks White
July 11, 1899
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 1, 1985 86) (aged|
North Brooklin, Maine, U.S.
|Resting place||Brooklin Cemetery, Brooklin, Maine, U.S.|
(m. 1929;died 1977)
Elwyn Brooks White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985)was an American writer. He was the author of several highly popular books for children, including Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte's Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). In a 2012 survey of School Library Journal readers, Charlotte's Web came in first in their poll of the top one hundred children's novels. In addition, he was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine, and also a co-author of the English language style guide The Elements of Style.
E.B. White was born in Mount Vernon, New York, the youngest child of Samuel Tilly White, the president of a piano firm, and Jessie Hart White, the daughter of Scottish-American painter William Hart.Elwyn's older brother Stanley Hart White, known as Stan, a professor of landscape architecture and the inventor of the Vertical Garden, taught E. B. White to read and to explore the natural world. White graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1921. He got the nickname "Andy" at Cornell, where tradition confers that moniker on any male student whose surname is White, after Cornell co-founder Andrew Dickson White. While at Cornell, he worked as editor of The Cornell Daily Sun with classmate Allison Danzig, who later became a sportswriter for The New York Times . White was also a member of the Aleph Samach and Quill and Dagger societies and Phi Gamma Delta ("Fiji") fraternity.
After graduation, White worked for the United Press (now United Press International) and the American Legion News Service in 1921 and 1922. From September 1922 to June 1923, he was a cub reporter for The Seattle Times . On one occasion, when White was stuck writing a story, a Times editor said, "Just say the words."He was fired from the Times and later wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before a stint in Alaska on a fireboat. He then worked for almost two years with the Frank Seaman advertising agency as a production assistant and copywriter before returning to New York City in 1924. When The New Yorker was founded in 1925, White submitted manuscripts to it. Katharine Angell, the literary editor, recommended to editor-in-chief and founder Harold Ross that White be hired as a staff writer. However, it took months to convince him to come to a meeting at the office and additional weeks to convince him to work on the premises. Eventually, he agreed to work in the office on Thursdays.
White was shy around women, claiming he had “too small a heart, too large a pen."But in 1929, culminating an affair which led to her divorce, White and Katherine Angell were married. They had a son, Joel White, a naval architect and boat builder, who later owned Brooklin Boat Yard in Brooklin, Maine. Katharine's son from her first marriage, Roger Angell, has spent decades as a fiction editor for The New Yorker and is well known as the magazine's baseball writer.
In her foreword to Charlotte's Web , Kate DiCamillo quotes White as saying, "All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world."White also loved animals, farms and farming implements, seasons, and weather formats.
James Thurber described White as a quiet man who disliked publicity and who, during his time at The New Yorker, would slip out of his office via the fire escape to a nearby branch of Schrafft's to avoid visitors whom he didn't know.
Most of us, out of a politeness made up of faint curiosity and profound resignation, go out to meet the smiling stranger with a gesture of surrender and a fixed grin, but White has always taken to the fire escape. He has avoided the Man in the Reception Room as he has avoided the interviewer, the photographer, the microphone, the rostrum, the literary tea, and the Stork Club. His life is his own. He is the only writer of prominence I know of who could walk through the Algonquin lobby or between the tables at Jack and Charlie's and be recognized only by his friends.— James Thurber, E. B. W., "Credos and Curios"
White had Alzheimer's disease and died on October 1, 1985, at his farm home in North Brooklin, Maine.He is buried in the Brooklin Cemetery beside Katharine, who died in 1977.
E. B. White published his first article in The New Yorker in 1925, then joined the staff in 1927 and continued to contribute for almost six decades. Best recognized for his essays and unsigned "Notes and Comment" pieces, he gradually became the magazine's most important contributor. From the beginning to the end of his career at The New Yorker, he frequently provided what the magazine calls "Newsbreaks" (short, witty comments on oddly worded printed items from many sources) under various categories such as "Block That Metaphor." He also was a columnist for Harper's Magazine from 1938 to 1943.
In 1949, White published Here Is New York, a short book based on an article he had been commissioned to write for Holiday . Editor Ted Patrick approached White about writing the essay telling him it would be fun. "Writing is never 'fun,' " replied White. That article reflects the writer's appreciation of a city that provides its residents with both "the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy." It concludes with a dark note touching on the forces that could destroy the city that he loved. This prescient "love letter" to the city was re-published in 1999 on his centennial with an introduction by his stepson, Roger Angell.
In 1959, White edited and updated The Elements of Style . This handbook of grammatical and stylistic guidance for writers of American English was first written and published in 1918 by William Strunk Jr., one of White's professors at Cornell. White's reworking of the book was extremely well received, and later editions followed in 1972, 1979, and 1999. Maira Kalman illustrated an edition in 2005. That same year, a New York composer named Nico Muhly premiered a short opera based on the book. The volume is a standard tool for students and writers and remains required reading in many composition classes. The complete history of The Elements of Style is detailed in Mark Garvey's Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style.
In 1978, White won a special Pulitzer Prize citing "his letters, essays and the full body of his work".He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and honorary memberships in a variety of literary societies throughout the United States. The 1973 Oscar-nominated Canadian animated short The Family That Dwelt Apart is narrated by White and is based on his short story of the same name.
In the late 1930s, White turned his hand to children's fiction on behalf of a niece, Janice Hart White. His first children's book, Stuart Little , was published in 1945, and Charlotte's Web followed in 1952. Stuart Little initially received a lukewarm welcome from the literary community. However, both books went on to receive high acclaim, and Charlotte's Web won a Newbery Honor from the American Library Association, though it lost to Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark.
White received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the U.S. professional children's librarians in 1970. It recognized his "substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature."That year, he was also the U.S. nominee and eventual runner-up for the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award, as he was again in 1976. Also, in 1970, White's third children's novel was published, The Trumpet of the Swan . In 1973 it won the Sequoyah Award from Oklahoma and the William Allen White Award from Kansas, both selected by students voting for their favorite book of the year. In 2012, the School Library Journal sponsored a survey of readers, which identified Charlotte's Web as the best children's novel ("fictional title for readers 9–12" years old). The librarian who conducted it said, "It is impossible to conduct a poll of this sort and expect [White's novel] to be anywhere but #1."
The E.B. White Read Aloud Award is given by The Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) to honor books that its membership feel embodies the universal read-aloud standards that E. B. White's works created.
James Grover Thurber was an American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright, children's book author, and celebrated wit. He was best known for his cartoons and short stories published mainly in The New Yorker magazine, such as "The Catbird Seat", and collected in his numerous books. He was one of the most popular humorists of his time, as he celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people. He wrote the Broadway comedy The Male Animal in collaboration with his college friend Elliott Nugent; it was later adapted into a film starring Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland. His short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" has been adapted for film twice, once in 1947 and again in 2013.
Roger Sergeant Angell is an American essayist known for his writing on sports, especially baseball. He has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was its chief fiction editor for many years. He has written numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, and criticism, and for many years wrote an annual Christmas poem for The New Yorker.
Stuart Little is a 1945 American children's novel by E. B. White, his first book for children, and is widely recognized as a classic in children's literature. Stuart Little was illustrated by the subsequently award-winning artist Garth Williams, also his first work for children. It is a realistic fantasy about a mouse-like human boy named Stuart Little. According to the first chapter, he ″looked very much like a rat/mouse in every way″.
The Elements of Style is an American English writing style guide in numerous editions. The original was composed by William Strunk Jr. in 1918, and published by Harcourt in 1920, comprising eight "elementary rules of usage", ten "elementary principles of composition", "a few matters of form", a list of 49 "words and expressions commonly misused", and a list of 57 "words often misspelled". E. B. White greatly enlarged and revised the book for publication by Macmillan in 1959. That was the first edition of the so-called Strunk & White, which Time named in 2011 as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923.
William Strunk Jr. was an American professor of English at Cornell University and author of The Elements of Style (1918). After revision and enlargement by his former student E. B. White, it became a highly influential guide to English usage during the late 20th century, commonly called Strunk & White.
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was an American writer known for the Little House on the Prairie series of children's books, published between 1932 and 1943, which were based on her childhood in a settler and pioneer family.
Charlotte's Web is a children's novel by American author E. B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams; it was published on October 15, 1952, by Harper & Brothers. The novel tells the story of a livestock pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.
Harold Wallace Ross was an American journalist who co-founded The New Yorker magazine in 1925 and served as its editor-in-chief from its inception until his death.
Franklin Pierce Adams was an American columnist known as Franklin P. Adams and by his initials F.P.A.. Famed for his wit, he is best known for his newspaper column, "The Conning Tower", and his appearances as a regular panelist on radio's Information Please. A prolific writer of light verse, he was a member of the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s and 1930s.
Garth Montgomery Williams was an American artist who came to prominence in the American postwar era as an illustrator of children's books. Many of the books he illustrated have become classics of American children's literature.
In Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and in the Little House series of books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Williams['s] drawings have become inseparable from how we think of those stories. In that respect ... Williams['s] work belongs in the same class as Sir John Tenniel's drawings for Alice in Wonderland, or Ernest Shepard's illustrations for Winnie the Pooh.
Joel White (1930–1997), the son of author E. B. White and New Yorker Magazine editor Katharine Sergeant Angell White, was a U.S. naval architect known for his classic designs including the W-Class of boats. Two W boats were posthumously built by Rockport Marine and Brooklin Boat Yard for Donald Tofias. They were christened White Wings and Wild Horses. White's life and character were chronicled in the book A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time by Douglass Whynott and in Joel White: Boatbuilder / designer / sailor by Bill Mayher and Maynard Bray. White died at the age of 66 in 1997 in Brooklin, Maine of lung cancer. His widow, Allene White, lives in Brooklin.
Thurber House is a literary center for readers and writers located in Columbus, Ohio, in the historic former home of author, humorist, and New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber. Thurber House is dedicated to promoting the literary arts by presenting quality literary programming; increasing the awareness of literature as a significant art form; promoting excellence in writing; providing support for literary artists; and commemorating Thurber's literary and artistic achievements. The house is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and also as part of the Jefferson Avenue Historic District.
Katharine Sergeant Angell White was a writer and the fiction editor for The New Yorker magazine from 1925 to 1960. In her obituary, printed in The New Yorker in 1977, William Shawn wrote, "More than any other editor except Harold Ross himself, Katharine White gave The New Yorker its shape, and set it on its course."
The E. B. White House is a historic house on 470 Bay Road in Brooklin, Maine, United States. This well-preserved 18th-century farmhouse was home for many years to author E. B. White (1899–1985), and is where he wrote a number of his important works. The farm was the inspiration for one of his best-known works, Charlotte's Web. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Ursula Nordstrom was publisher and editor-in-chief of juvenile books at Harper & Row from 1940 to 1973. She is credited with presiding over a transformation in children's literature in which morality tales written for adult approval gave way to works that instead appealed to children's imaginations and emotions.
A Thurber Carnival is a revue by James Thurber, adapted by the author from his stories, cartoons and casuals, nearly all of which originally appeared in The New Yorker. It was directed by Burgess Meredith. Following a six city tryout, during which Thurber continued to rewrite the show, it premiered on Broadway on February 26, 1960, and ran for 223 performances, with a break from June 25 to September 5. It closed on November 26, 1960. The title is similar to that of The Thurber Carnival (1945), Thurber's most successful collection of stories and drawings.
Is Sex Necessary? Or, Why You Feel the Way You Do is a collection of essays written by E. B. White and James Thurber, first published in 1929.
A bibliography of the published works of Roger Angell, American writer and editor.
Ernest Angell was an American lawyer and author who served as President of the American Civil Liberties Union for 19 years, from 1950 to 1969.
Thomas Vinciguerra is a journalist, editor and author. A founding editor of The Week magazine, he has published widely about popular culture and other subjects in the New York Times, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, GQ and other publications.
His nickname, “Andy,” dates from his years at Cornell. According to Cornell tradition, all male students named White were nicknamed after Cornell’s first president, Andrew Dickson White.
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