E. B. White
Mount Vernon, NY, US
Elwyn Brooks White, the author of the beloved children's classics Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, was born in Mount Vernon, New York on July 11, 1899. E. B. White's father was a piano manufacturer, and he had two brothers and three sisters.
He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and worked for United Press International and the American Legion News Service in 1921 and 1922. E.B. White was a reporter for the Seattle Times in 1922 and 1923. For the next two years, he worked at the Frank Seaman advertising agency as a production assistant and copywriter.
In 1925, E.B. White became a contributing editor of The New Yorker magazine in 1927, an association which continued until his death in 1985. E.B. White authored more than seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1973. In addition to writing children's books, E. B. White also wrote books for adults, as well as poems and essays, and he drew sketches for The New Yorker magazine. Some of his other books include One Man's Meat, The Second Tree from the Corner, and Here is New York. He revised and edited William S. Strunk's The Elements of Style, which is widely used in college English courses.
Funnily enough for such a famous writer, he always said that he found writing difficult and bad for one's disposition but he kept at it.
Mr. White won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, which commended him for making “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”
He died on October 1, 1985.
The Stories Behind The Books
During his lifetime, many young readers asked Mr. White if his stories were true. In a letter written to be sent to his fans, he answered, “No, they are imaginary tales… But real life is only one kind of life — there is also the life of the imagination.”
Mr. White lived on a farm in Maine where he kept animals, and some of these creatures made their way into his stories and books, like Stuart in Stuart Little, or Charlotte in Charlotte's Web. After all, as E.B. White said, “I like animals, and my barn is a very pleasant place to be, at all hours!”
“Many years ago,” E.B. White would say, “I went to bed one night in a railway sleeping car, and during the night I dreamed about a tiny boy who acted rather like a mouse. That's how the story of Stuart Little got started.”
How did E. B. White think up the story for Charlotte's Web? “I had been watching a big grey spider at her work and was impressed by how clever she was at weaving. Gradually I worked the spider into the story that you know, a story of friendship and salvation on a farm.”