Charles Edward Carryl wrote for his children and for himself; by trade he was a businessman and stockbroker who used his writing as a diversion. He was born in New York on December 30, 1841, the son of a prosperous businessman. By 1857 he had his rapid ascent up the business ladder, working as an officer and director of various railroad companies until 1872. In 1874 he landed a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, which he held for the next thirty-four years. From the 1850s through the 1870s the bulk of Carryl's writings were of the stock transfer-business memorandum variety.
In 1869 Carryl married Mary Wetmore, and the first of their two children was born four years later. With the influence of his imaginative children, Carryl's storytelling soon began. Though the beginnings of Caryll's literary career were inauspicious--his first published work was the 1882 Stock Exchange Primer--he was soon thoroughly ensconced in a nonsense fantasy world that would, when it was introduced in St. Nicholas a children's periodical), elicit overwhelming approval from child readers.
At the time of his death in 1920, the works of Carryl were still in print and widely read. If Carryl is to be remembered for any one contribution to American children's literature, it should be that he, more than any other American children's fantasist of the past century, found a key to successful nonsense fantasy so long thought to be the exclusive property of the British.
This biography was entirely culled from The Dictionary of Literary Biography. More specifically, from
Douglas Street, "Charles E. Carryl," The Dictionary of Literary Biography; Vol. 42: American Writers for Children before 1900, ed. Glenn E. Estes (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1985), pp. 122-126.