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Happy birthday E.B. White!

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E.B. White (July 11, 1899—October 1, 1985) was an American writer. He spent much of his career writing for The New Yorker, but later in his life wrote the children's books Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his work as a whole, along with several other honors.

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White was born Elwyn Brooks "E.B." White to Samuel and Jessie White in Mount Vernon, New York. While attending Cornell University, White served as editor of The Cornell Daily Sun. After graduating, he worked as a reporter for various publications such as United Press, American Legion News Service, The Seattle Times, and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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After picking up a copy of The New Yorker in 1925, he submitted the magazine his first piece of writing. Within two years, he was on staff and went on to work at the magazine for about 60 years. He became known for his contributions to the "Notes and Comments" section as well as his essays. He married the magazine's literary editor, Katharine Sergeant Angell, in 1929.

Though raised Christian, White grew skeptical of organized religion. He tended to focus on the role of technology, internationalism, and urban versus rural life. His first books of poetry, The Lady is Cold (1929) and The Fox of Peapack and Other Poems (1928), were examples of his talent in writing about the simple things in life.

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By 1939, White left the city to live in North Brooklin, Maine. His first children's book, Stuart Little, was published in 1945. Then, in 1952, his second children's book was published, Charlotte's Web. It wasn't until 1970 that his next and last children's book, The Trumpet of the Swan, would be published.

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In 1959, White published a manual for English-language writing called The Elements of Style. The manual was used in many English classes in high schools. He wrote in the preface: "...even now, at this late date, a blank sheet of paper holds the greatest excitement there is for me...It holds all the hope there is, all fears. I can remember, really quite distinctly, looking a sheet of paper square in the eyes when I was seven or eight-years-old and thinking 'This is where I belong, this is it.'"

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In 1963, White was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also won a gold medal from the National Institute for Arts and Letters. In 1978, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as a whole.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Friday, 11 July 2014
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