Elizabeth Coatsworth

American writer (1893-1986)

1893   -   1986

country of citizenship: United States of America
languages spoken, written or signed: English
educated at: Vassar College
occupation: poet, writer, novelist, children's writer
award received: Newbery Medal

Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth (May 31, 1893 – August 31, 1986) was an American writer of fiction and poetry for children and adults. She won the 1931 Newbery Medal from the American Library Association award recognizing The Cat Who Went to Heaven as the previous year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." In 1968 she was a highly commended runner-up for the biennial international Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's writers.Elizabeth Coatsworth was born May 31, 1893, to Ida Reid and William T. Coatsworth, a prosperous grain merchant in Buffalo, New York. She attended Buffalo Seminary, a private girls' school, and spent summers with her family on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie. She began traveling as a child, visiting the Alps and Egypt at age five.: 97  Coatsworth graduated from Vassar College in 1915 as Salutatorian. In 1916 she received a Master of Arts from Columbia University. She then traveled to eastern Asia, riding horseback through the Philippines, exploring Indonesia and China, and sleeping in a Buddhist monastery. These travels would later influence her writing.: 97 In 1929, she married writer Henry Beston, with whom she had two daughters, Margaret and Catherine.: 97  They lived at Hingham, Massachusetts, and Chimney Farm in Nobleboro, Maine. Her daughter, Kate Barnes (1932–2013), would go on to become accomplished in writing in her own right, being named the first Poet Laureate of Maine.Elizabeth Coatsworth died at her home in Nobleboro, August 31, 1986. Her papers are held in the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota and Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, with a small archive from late in her career in the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. There is also a collection of her papers at the Maine Women Writers Collection held at the University of New England, Portland, Maine.
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