C.B. Colby

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C.B. Colby
Born Carroll Burleigh Colby
(1904-09-07)September 7, 1904
Claremont, New Hampshire,
United States
Died October 31, 1977(1977-10-31) (aged 73)
Westchester County, New York
United States
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Genre Military history, weapons, children's books

C.B. Colby (born Carroll Burleigh Colby, September 7, 1904; died October 31, 1977) was a prolific children's book writer of mostly non-fiction works. He wrote approximately 93 books[1] that were widely circulated in public and school libraries in the United States.


Born in Claremont, New Hampshire, Colby graduated from Stevens High School in 1922, then attended the School of Practical Art in Boston, graduating in 1925.

He sailed to Puerto Rico with the intention of being a free-lance artist, but his failure led him to join the U.S. Customs Service during the Prohibition era.[2] He married Lila Thoday in November 1928, having two children, Fred and Susan M. Colby.

Colby sold his first fiction story in 1929.[3]

Learning to fly glider aircraft in 1931, Colby began writing and illustrating articles for various aviation magazines, becoming an editor of Air Trails and Air Progress magazines that were Street & Smith publications. He co-authored the Junior Birdmen Standard Aviation Dictionary for the Junior Birdmen of America. In 1943 he became aviation editor of Popular Science magazine and became a war correspondent with the U.S. Army Air Forces in Newfoundland, Labrador, and Alaska. He left the magazine in 1946 to free-lance articles. Colby enlisted and served as an officer with the Civil Air Patrol.

His first book was Gabbit the Magic Rabbit published in 1950; he began his non-fiction book writing with Our Fighting Jets in 1951. Colby's books specialised in outdoor subjects such as hunting, fishing, camping, and firearms. He wrote many non-fiction books on military and public safety organisations and new technology designed to be understood by children.

Several of those books included the following:

Bomber Parade Headliners in Bomber Plane History

Chute!: Air Drop for Defense and Sport

Submarine Warfare: Men, Weapons, and Ships

FBI: The G-Mens’ Weapons and Tactics For Combat

Six-shooter: Pistols, Revolvers, And Automatics, Past And Present

Two centuries of weapons, 1776-1976

Jets of the World: New Fighters, Bombers and Transports

Fighter Parade: Headliners in Fighter Plane History

First Rifle How to Shoot It Straight and Use It Safe

Musket to M-14 Pistols, Rifles and Machine Guns

Leatherneck : The Training, Weapons and Equipment of the United States Marine Corp

Fighting Gear of World War II Equipment and Weapons of the American G.I.

Art and Science of Taking to the Woods [4]

In 1959, Colby wrote his most popular book entitled, Strangely Enough. This was a collection of short stories about true life adventure, supernatural mysteries, UFO's and other fantastic tales. An urban legend was created when Scholastic Publishers reprinted the book with missing stories from the original printing.[5]

Colby said the secret of successful writing for children was to actually "like writing, [like] youngsters, and [like] what they like".