E. B. White

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Elwyn Brooks "E. B." White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985)[1] was an American writer. A long-time contributor to The New Yorker magazine, he also wrote many famous books for both adults and children, such as the popular Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, and co-authored a widely used writing guide, The Elements of Style, popularly known by its authors' names, as "Strunk & White."


Personal life

White was born in Mt. Vernon, New York, the youngest child of Samuel White, a piano manufacturer, and Jessie Hart. He served in the army before going on to college. White graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1921. He picked up the nickname "Andy" at Cornell, where tradition confers that moniker on any male student surnamed White, after Cornell co-founder Andrew Dickson White. While at Cornell, he worked as editor of The Cornell Daily Sun with classmate Allison Danzig who later became a sportswriter for The New York Times. White was also a member of the Quill and Dagger society and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI). He wrote for The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer and worked as an ad man before returning to New York City in 1924.

White married Katharine Sergeant Angell in 1929, also an editor at The New Yorker, and author (as Katharine White) of Onward and Upward in the Garden. They had a son, Joel White, a naval architect and boatbuilder, who owned Brooklin Boatyard in Brooklin, Maine. Katharine's son from her first marriage, Roger Angell, has spent decades as a fiction editor for The New Yorker and is well-known as the magazine's baseball writer.

White died on October 1, 1985, at his farm home in North Brooklin, Maine. He was buried beside his wife at the Brooklin Cemetery.[2]


He published his first article in The New Yorker magazine in 1925, then joined the staff in 1927 and continued to contribute for around six decades. Best recognized for his essays and unsigned "Notes and Comment" pieces, he gradually became the most important contributor to The New Yorker at a time when it was arguably the most important American literary magazine. From the beginning to the end of his career at the New Yorker he frequently provided what the magazine calls "Newsbreaks", these being short, witty comments on oddly-worded printed items from many sources, under various categories such as "Block That Metaphor." He also served as a columnist for Harper's Magazine from 1938 to 1943.

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