Elizabeth Enright was a multi-award-winning
American writer of Thimble Summer fame.
Biographical fast facts
Date and place of birth: September 17, 1909,
Oak Park, near Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Date and place of death: June 8, 1968,
Wainscott, Long Island, New York, U.S.A. *
Husband: Robert Marty Gillham (m. April 24, 1930)
Sons: Nicholas Wright Gillham (b. May 14, 1932, New York City, New York)
Oliver Gillham (b. January 2, 1949)
Robert Gillham II
Father: Walter Joseph Enright (a political cartoonist)
(b. July 3, 1875 or 1879, Chicago, Illinois - d. 1969, Delray Beach, Florida)
Mother: Maginel (Wright) Enright (b. June 19, 1881, Weymouth,
Massachusetts, U.S.A. - d. April 18, 1966, East Hampton,
New York, U.S.A.) (a magazine illustrator)
Burial site: Elizabeth Enright is
buried near her uncle Frank Lloyd Wright's farm, in Spring Green,
in the Wyoming Valley region of Wisconsin.
Error corrections or clarifications
* The town in which she died is properly
spelled Wainscott, New York. Some sources erroneously
spell it with just one "t" as a result of the
spelling of wainscot or wainscoting.
NOTE: At least one source erroneously reports
she studied art at "Parson's School of Design
in New York City." In point of fact, the
Parson's School of Design Elizabeth Enright
attended, was in Paris, France.
Career - Selected writing credits
With her father being a noted political
cartoonist and her mother a magazine illustrator,
it's understandable that Elizabeth began
drawing at an early age and continued her
passion for art throughout her life. Upon
graduating high school, she studied at the
Art Students League of New York (1927-28),
then moved on to Parsons School of Design
in Paris. Enright began her professional
career as a magazine illustrator, then
advanced to illustrating children's books.
When she added stories to accompany her
drawings, she discovered that she preferred
writing over illustrating. While she shifted
her primary focus to writing, she did
continue to provide all illustrations for
her books into the early 1950s, at which
time she handed that duty to others.
Her second children's book as both author
and illustrator, Thimble Summer (1938),
garnered national recognition in 1939 when
she was awarded the prestigious Newbery Medal.
It has remained a perennial favorite for
generations of children, having been reprinted
many times over the years. Her rich, vivid
descriptions of the country landscape,
characters and situations in Thimble Summer,
won the praise of critics as well as young
readers. In it she accurately recreated
moods and images that reflected the many
summers she personally spent at her uncle's
farm in Wisconsin. Said uncle was none other
than famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Much of her work proved particularly appealing
to young female readers, who found her strong,
youthful heroines, refreshing in the late 1930s.
Other books include, Kintu: A Congo Adventure (1935),
The Sea Is All Around (1940), The Saturdays (1941),
The Four-Story Mistake (1942), Then There Were Five
(1944), Borrowed Summer and Other Stories (1946), Spiderweb
for Two: A Melendy Maze (1951), The Moment Before the Rain
(1955), Gone-Away Lake (1957), The Riddle of the Fly and
Other Stories (1959), Return to Gone-Away (1961) and
Doublefields: Memories and Stories (1966). Her final
two children's books were fairy tales, Tatsinda (1963)
and Zeee (1965). Her children's books were self-illustrated
until 1951. Some of the author's short stories first
appeared on the pages of magazines such as Cosmopolitan,
Saturday Evening Post, New Yorker, Redbook,
Ladies' Home Journal, Yale Review, Mademoiselle,
Harper's and McCall's.
Beyond her fictional writing, she reviewed
children's literature for the New York Times,
lectured on creative writing at Barnard College
from 1960 to 1962 and participated in writing
seminars at colleges across America.
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