Elwyn Brooks White, 1899 - 1985

portrait of E. B. White
Sitting on the beach with his dog Minnie
E. B. White signature

Born: 11 July 1899, Mount Vernon, New York
Died: 1 October 1985, North Brooklin, Maine

The youngest son of Samuel White, a piano manufacturer, White served in the army, then graduated from Cornell (BA 1921). He was called Andy at the time, Cornell tradition demands that if a male student has the surname White, he is called "Andy White" after a cofounder of the college. He was an editor of The Cornell Daily Sun and joined the Quill and Dagger society. He went to Seattle and wrote for the now-closed Post Intelligencer and the Seattle Times until returning to New York City in 1924. He worked in advertising, wrote his first story for The New Yorker in 1925, its first year, and joined the staff in 1927. He contributed to that magazine for the rest of his life, he also had a column in Harper's Magazine from 1938 to 1943. In 1929 he and James Thurber wrote a satire in response to Freudianism, Is Sex Necessary?. He wrote two popular children's titles, Stuart Little (1945) and Charlotte's Web (1952) and revisited that genre in 1970 with The Trumpet of the Swan. In 1959 he edited and updated William Strunk, Jr's "Little Book" as The Elements of Style, Strunk had been one of his professors at Cornell and this guide to writers had been out of print since 1918. In 1939 he bought a farm in Maine and gave up daily responsibility at The New Yorker. Many of his shorter pieces made light of the difficulties of a city resident facing the challenges of wayward livestock and the seasonal problems of agriculture, he died on his farm from Alzheimer disease.

Biography from Wikipedia and Greenville Public Library (Rhode Island)

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