Marcia Strykowski

E. B. White

Elwyn Brooks White was born on July 11, 1899, in Mount Vernon, New York. In a 1980 article from the New York Times he discusses his name: “I never liked Elwyn. My mother just hung it on me because she’d run out of names. I was her sixth child.” Later, at Cornell University, he was called Andy and the name stuck with him for life. Andy had several newspaper jobs before starting at the New Yorker magazine in 1927. He worked there as a writer and contributing editor throughout the rest of his career. This is also where he met his wife Katharine. Their son Joel was born in 1930. White wrote plenty for adults including his contribution to The Elements of Style which is familiar to just about anyone who has ever studied writing. As for his classic children’s books, the first was Stuart Little in 1945. This story about an adventurous mouse became very popular. Next came Charlotte’s Web in 1952. I would guess everyone is familiar with this beautiful classic. If you’d like a real treat, I highly recommend listening to the audio book read by the author. I’ve heard it took him many tries to get through the emotional parts of the story without bursting into tears while recording.  The success of Charlotte’s Web was followed by The Trumpet of the Swan in 1970. Awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1970, the National Medal for Literature in 1971, and a Pulitzer Prize special citation in 1978. White died at his home in North Brooklin, Maine on October 1, 1985.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a program about E. B. White. This event was the closing ceremony of the annual Newburyport Literary Festival. After an interesting discussion, a question and answer session followed. Panelists were Melissa Sweet and Martha White. Melissa is the amazingly talented illustrator/author of one of
my most favorite new books of the past year. Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White is one of those books you want to put on your shelf to return to again and again—so much to see on each page. Martha White is not only an author herself, but she is also E. B. White’s   granddaughter. The talk was moderated by journalist Leslie Hendrickson. The second picture shows Martha speaking in front of the large slide show that accompanied their talks.I would  someday love to be one of the lucky few who get to visit and tour E. B. White’s homestead in Maine, but until that day I’ve put together some of his wise words to wrap up this post.

60 Comments

  1. A beautiful, post, Marcia. Stuart and Charlotte are two of my all time favorite characters. I hadn’t heard about “Some Writer.” Heading out to the library today! And I especially like the quotes you’ve displayed on photos here (ones you took?). Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pierr, I think you’ll love the new biography. I didn’t shoot the pictures (free from Pixabay) but I incorporated the quotes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like an amazing event. I love the quotes you chose, perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was tricky to pick out just a few quotes, there are so many wonderful ones to choose from. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is another lovely, informative post Marcia, with wonderful quotes from E. B. White. “A library is a good place” and “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder” are my favourites. Adding those words to that particular image is inspired.
    ‘Some Writer’ is on the top of my must-read list. I know I will enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love those two quotes, too. Good to know you’ll be enjoying Some Writer… thanks, Barbara!

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  4. Bobbi

    What a fascinating discussion and backstory on E.B. White! I love all his books, now more than ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I was typing this up, it hit me how many years were between his three children’s books. And even though I realize he was writing all sorts of other things, still—gives us hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. mirkabreen

    Wonderful post, written like a librarian who is also an author (or vise versa 😉 ) Elwyn Brooks White and his stories for children are treasures.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very nice review! E.B. White is one of my favorites. I did not know the “E” stood for Elwyn. Charlotte’s Web was one of my favorite books in the second grade. I remember ordering my copy from the Scholastic Book Club. Years later I belonged to a parent book club and got a number of his books and read them to my son.

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    • Sounds like you have some great memories of his work, Sharon. Such a special thing the way his carefully chosen words live on through the generations.

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  7. Beautiful post Marcia! Can I share one or two of your memes on Facebook? Beautifully done. A light for a dreary day!

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    • Absolutely, Judi, thanks! 🙂

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      • terryjones1994

        Hi Marcia, how are you doing, I’m Terry i was on here searching for a military post when i saw your write up and post and was very interested in them.

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  8. Thanks! Lots of info I didn’t know, and I love the quotes.

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    • Yes, lots of great lines from his work and interviews, glad you enjoyed this selection, Yvonne!

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  9. White is still one of my favorite authors. I think Charlotte’s Web will still be read to children 500 years from now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So hard for me to imagine how the world will be in 500 years, but I’ll bet you’re right. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved the post just as I love E.B. White. Have you read “One Man’s Meat”? I wish I would’ve known about the event. Sounds like it was wonderful!

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  11. Beautiful post! Love Charlotte’s Web! I haven’t heard of “Some Writer” and will get it. Thank you.

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  12. Thank you for this, Marcia. A much-needed injection of E.B. White.

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  13. What a beautiful post! i love E.B. White’s books! I also love his wife Katharine’s writings about gardening. Very inspiring. Thank you, Marcia, for brightening my day!

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  14. Loved the quotes! And it was fun to read tidbits I didn’t know about E. B. White. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  15. Marcia, this is a wonderful post! Of course I am the biggest Charlotte’s Web fan in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Thank you. Tell me about Some Writer. What reading level? YA? Younger? I must read it!!

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    • Hi Jennie, I’d say Some Writer is aimed at ages 7 to 12 (and of course older readers like us…). I’m sure it’s in your library system and that you’ll love it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ashley

    I love learning about this author, his books are great!! Your picture quotes turned out great!!

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  17. Bette Norton

    What a wonderful post! Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web are favorites of mine. I am very interested in reading “Some Writer.” I love reading some of EB White’s quotes! What a great opportunity for you to see Martha White at the Newburyport Literary Festival. I enjoyed learning more about EB White. What a wonderful writer he was! 🙂

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  18. I read all his children’s books that you wrote about here. Charlotte’s Web has always been a favorite. I will have to check out the audio book version. I didn’t know much about EB White- so I am definitely interested in the book his granddaughter and Melissa created. It looks beautiful.

    So glad you were able to go to the talk!

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    • Nice to hear from another fan of E. B. White. I think you’ll enjoy Melissa’s book and the audio version of Charlotte’s Web is wonderful, too. One of Martha White’s books is a compilation of essays, poems, etc. her grandfather wrote about his various dogs over the years. I’m sure that’s interesting, too. Thanks, Stephanie!

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  19. What a lovely post! I really enjoyed it & learned a lot too! 🙂

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  20. Lovely post Marcia– I’ve read his books you highlighted– but did not know he contributed to Elements of Style!! That was my daughters favorite all though her years of high school!! And I did read Charlotte’s Web to my students every year in 4th grade– so much to talk about with kids that age… Love you blog–feels like a conversation with an old (smart) friend! xox

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    • It’s wonderful how Charlotte’s Web gets passed on to the next generation by so many thoughtful teachers. I guess Elements of Style came out in 1920 and then almost 30 years later, White completely revised and expanded the book. Your daughter must be a good writer with having that book by her side throughout high school. Thanks for your visit, Rhonda! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Michelle

    Great post! I love the quotes…so encouraging.

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  22. claudinegueh

    Oh, Marcia, what great timing. I borrowed “Some Writer!” from the library just yesterday and today I read this post! I know I’m going to enjoy this book very much. 🙂

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    • Wonderful, have fun reading and studying all the great pictures, Claudine! 🙂

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  23. Reblogged this on WRITERS' RUMPUS and commented:
    Thank you, Marcia. We loved your post and appreciate your sharing here about E.B. White. We thought our Writers’ Rumpus community would appreciate it as well.

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  24. Great post! I’ve read this book and it is one you need to go back and read again and again. Gorgeous! I reblogged this on angiequantrell.wordpress.com. 🙂

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  25. What a great post, Marcia! I learned a lot! Thanks for sharing! xoxo

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    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Lilly. Hope all is well with you!xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Marcia, and yes all is good here. Was very busy for the past days due to final exams. How about you? How have you been? Is it already summer there? Have a nice weekend, Marcia! xoxo

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        • Yes, the hot weather has finally arrived after much back and forth–cold one day, hot the next, but that’s New England. 🙂 Hope your exams went well and Happy Weekend to you, too! xoxo

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  26. Love Charlottes Web! My grandchildren are here right now and I forgot about it, I must put it on for them! Thank you!!!

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  27. E.B. White’s books are among my favorite. They are full of substance, and peace. The quotations you included are excellent for life! Thanks Marcia!

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    • I enjoy his peaceful prose, as well as his quotations for everyday life, too. 🙂

      Like

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