E. B. White
White on the beach with his dog Minnie
Elwyn Brooks White
July 11, 1899
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 1, 1985 86) (aged|
North Brooklin, Maine, U.S.
(m. 1929;died 1977)
Elwyn Brooks White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985)was an American writer. For more than fifty years, he was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine. He was also a co-author of the English language style guide The Elements of Style. In addition, he wrote 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 was voted the top children's novel.
The New Yorker is an American magazine featuring journalism, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. Started as a weekly in 1925, the magazine is now published 47 times annually, with five of these issues covering two-week spans. Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside New York and is read internationally. It is well known for its illustrated and often topical covers, its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana, its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews, its rigorous fact checking and copy editing, its journalism on politics and social issues, and its single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.
A style guide or manual of style is a set of standards for the writing, formatting and design of documents. It is often called a style sheet, although that term may have other meanings. These standards can be applied either for general use, or be required usage for an individual publication, a particular organization, or a specific field.
The Elements of Style is a prescriptive 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.
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.
Mount Vernon is a city in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is an inner suburb of New York City, immediately to the north of the borough of the Bronx. As of the 2010 census, Mount Vernon had a population of 67,292.
William Hart, was a Scottish-born American landscape and cattle painter, and Hudson River School artist. His younger brother, James McDougal Hart, and his younger sister, Julie Hart Beers, were also Hudson River School artists. He studied under Jules-Joseph Lefebvre.
Stanley Hart White was a professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois from 1922 until 1959 and the inventor of the green wall. White called his invention "Botanical Bricks" and developed prototypes in his backyard in Urbana, Illinois. Stanley's brother E.B. White documents the invention in his 1937 letter to Katherine S. White: “I guess everyone has crazy brothers and sisters. I know I have. Stan, by the way, has taken out a patent on an invention of his called ‘Botanical Bricks,’ which are simply plant units capable of being built up to any height, for quick landscape effects, the vertical surfaces covered with flowering vines, or the like. He thinks that the idea has great possibilities for such things as world fairs, city yards, indoor gardens, and many other projects. I think perhaps he has got hold of something, and have written him for more information. He certainly deserves a break.” Stanley refined the vertical garden typology with his patent for the "vegetation-Bearing Architectonic Structure and System (1938)" in which he outlines the scope for a new field of vegetation-bearing architecture. The impact of this invention has still unrealized provocations on this history of gardens and designed landscapes, establishing precedent for verdant modernism in the prewar Middle West. The wall was reconstructed in 2012-13 as part of a Graham Foundation Research Award. Stanley Hart White is also known for his innovative teaching style and his influence on the work of Richard Haag, Hideo Sasaki, Peter Walker, Stu Dawson, Philip H. Lewis Jr., and numerous others Stanley Hart White married Blanche Bigney; they had one daughter, Janice Hart White, an accomplished artist. As E. B. White's niece, Janice was an inspiration for the title character in Stuart Little, Harper and Brothers, 1945.
After graduation, White worked for the United Press (now United Press International) and the American Legion News Service in 1921 and 1922. In 1922–23, 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 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.
United Press International (UPI) is an international news agency whose newswires, photo, news film, and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations for most of the 20th century. At its peak, it had more than 6,000 media subscribers. Since the first of several sales and staff cutbacks in 1982, and the 1999 sale of its broadcast client list to its rival, the Associated Press, UPI has concentrated on smaller information-market niches.
The American Legion is a U.S. war veterans' organization headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is made up of state, U.S. territory, and overseas departments, and these are in turn made up of local posts. The legislative body of The American Legion is a national convention, held annually. The organization was founded on March 15, 1919, at the American Club near Place de la Concorde in Paris, France, by members of the American Expeditionary Forces, and it was chartered on September 16, 1919, by the U.S. Congress.
The Seattle Times is a daily newspaper serving Seattle, Washington, United States. It has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the state of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest region.
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.
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.
Brooklin is a town in Hancock County, Maine, United States. The population was 824 at the 2010 census. It is home to WoodenBoat Magazine, Brooklin Boat Yard, and numerous boatbuilders, artists, writers, musicians, and potters.
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.
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.
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.
Katrina Elizabeth DiCamillo is an American writer of children's fiction for all reading levels, usually featuring animals. She is one of six people to win two Newbery Medals, recognizing her novels The Tale of Despereaux (2003) and Flora & Ulysses (2013). Her best-known books for young children are the Mercy Watson series, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.
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.
James Grover Thurber was an American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright, 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.
Schrafft's was a chain of high-volume moderately priced New York restaurants connected to the Schrafft's food and candy business of Boston. The dining rooms, which had tablecloths at dinner time, and later had separate standing bar areas, were supplemented by fountain service lunch counters, separate rooms in which were displayed for sale Schrafft's branded candy and ice cream, and various items such as wrapped gift baskets of fruit, candy and stuffed toys.
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 appeared 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 the Newbery Medal from the American Library Association.
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, 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.
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 Stuart Little who, though born to human parents in New York City, ″looked very much like a rat/mouse in every way″.
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.
Thomas Coraghessan Boyle, also known as T. C. Boyle and T. Coraghessan Boyle, is an American novelist and short story writer. Since the mid-1970s, he has published sixteen novels and more than 100 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988, for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York.
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.
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.
Wolcott Gibbs was an American editor, humorist, theatre critic, playwright and author of short stories, who worked for The New Yorker magazine from 1927 until his death. He is best remembered for his 1936 parody of Time magazine, which skewered the magazine's inverted narrative structure. Gibbs wrote, "Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind"; he concluded the piece, "Where it all will end, knows God!" He also wrote a comedy, Season in the Sun, which ran on Broadway for 10 months in 1950–51 and was based on a series of stories that originally appeared in The New Yorker.
Garth Montgomery Williams is a well known American illustrator for children's book/literature from the 20th century. Williams is most notable for his illustrations in classic American children's books such as "Charlotte's Web". William's was inspired by his parents who were both artists of some kind as well. William's attended the Westminster School of Art and the Royal Academy in London where he received his training for articular crafts and drawing. He later had received the Prix de Rome which is a high-honor French scholarship for art students, and will allow those to live and study in the Italian capital of Rome free of expenses. He eventually moved back to his birth city in New York in October 1941 to continue his works and partnering with E.B. White. Many of the books he illustrated have become classics of American children's literature. A notable exception are the illustrations he created for an adult audience in 'A Room for the Night' by Pauline Leader, Vanguard Press, 1946.
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.
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 listed on the National Register of Historic Places as James Thurber House.
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 Maine State Route 175 in northern 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.
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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