Elizabeth Yates (author)
December 6, 1905|
Buffalo, New York
|Died||July 29, 2001
Concord, New Hampshire, USA
|Notable work(s)||Amos Fortune, Free Man|
|Notable award(s)||Newbery Medal
Elizabeth Yates (December 6, 1905 – July 29, 2001) was a prolific American author. She is perhaps best known for her 1951 Newbery Medal winning novel Amos Fortune, Free Man. She also received the Newbery Honor in 1944 for Mountain Born. She began her writing career as a journalist, writing travel articles for publications such as The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times. Many of Yates' books were illustrated by British artist Nora Unwin.
Her autobiography consists of three volumes: My Diary – My World (1981), My Widening World (1983), and One Writer's Way (1984).
Life and work
Elizabeth Yates was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Harry and Mary Duffy Yates. She was the sixth of seven children. Her father owned a farm, and Yates recalled that "there were horses, cows, chickens and pigs, dogs always. When we were very small each one of us had some plot of ground that was ours to plant and crop." Her love of animals and the land stems from these childhood experiences.
She attended Franklin School, graduating in 1924. Yates then spent a year at Oaksmere, a private school near New York City, founded by mathematician Winifred Edgerton Merrill. Yates looked back on her school days with fondness. Margaret Trudell's biography of Yates relates her reminiscences: "I know how much I look back on my teachers now, with a heart almost aching with gratitude for all they gave me, and not a little remorse for all the trouble I gave them...the teachers I think of with most gratitude are the teachers who made books real to me."
Books were an important part of her life. Yates credited her mother for instilling in her a love for books by reading aloud to the family. At the age of 12, at the request of her father, Yates read through the whole Bible. This was to become one of her favorite books. Her sister also encouraged her to read, and made a list of recommended books for Elizabeth.
From an early age, Yates enjoyed writing. In her childhood, she transformed an unused pigeon loft on the family farm into a secret writing place. After her schooling was finished, she moved to Manhattan and began writing book reviews and other newspaper articles. In 1929, she married William McGreal and the couple moved to England, where they lived for the next 10 years. In 1938, her first book, High Holiday, was published by London publishing company A & C Black.
The couple returned to the United States in 1939, and settled in Peterborough, New Hampshire. They bought a farm, and a discovery of old artwork during the restoration of the farmhouse prompted Yates to write Patterns on the Wall. Personal experience formed the basis of many of Yates' novels. Her passion for the land led her to write The Road Through Sandwich Notch, a book which was influential in preserving that portion of New Hampshire for inclusion in the White Mountain National Forest.
Yates conducted writer's workshops at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Connecticut, and Indiana University. She also served as the Director of the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. 
Yates was widowed in 1963.
In 1943, Patterns on the Wall received the Herald Tribune Award. Yates' novel, Amos Fortune, Free Man, received the Newbery Medal, the inaugural William Allen White Children's Book Award, and the Herald Tribune Award. Mountain Born received a Newbery Honor in 1944, while in 1955 Rainbow Round the World received the Jane Addams Children's Book Award from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
In the 1990s, the New Hampshire Association for the Blind began the William and Elizabeth Yates McGreal Society. Yates had been a previous President of the Board, while her husband was the Association's first Executive Director.
In 1994, the Concord, New Hampshire Public Library created the Elizabeth Yates Award in her honor. This award is given annually to an individual who is "actively engaged in inspiring young people to read".
Elizabeth Yates' books have been described as "the result of extensive research, a strong underlying belief in God, and a vivid imagination."
List of works
|Library resources about
Elizabeth Yates (author)
|By Elizabeth Yates (author)|
- High Holiday, London: A.C. Black, 1938
- Climbing Higher, an Iceland Adventure, London: A.C. Black, 1938
- Hans and Frieda in the Swiss Mountains, Wide World storybook series, New York: Thomas Nelson, 1939
- Haven for the Brave, New York: Knopf, 1941
- Around the Year in Iceland (illustrated by Jon Nielson), Boston: Heath, 1942 (New World Neighbors)
- Under the Little Fir, and other stories (illustrated by Nora S. Unwin) New York: Coward–McCann, 1942
- Patterns on the Wall, New York: Knopf, 1943. Rpt. as The Journeyman, South Carolina: JourneyForth, 1990
- Mountain Born (illustrated by Nora S. Unwin), New York: Coward–McCann, 1943
- Wind of Spring, New York: Coward–McCann, 1945
- Nearby, New York: Coward–McCann, 1947
- Beloved Bondage, New York: Coward–McCann, 1948
- Amos Fortune, Free Man New York: Aladdin, 1950
- Brave Interval, New York: Coward–McCann, 1952
- Pebble in a Pool: The Widening Circle of Dorothy Canfield Fisher's Life New York: Dutton, 1958
- The Lighted Heart (Illustrated by Nora S. Unwin), New York: Dutton, 1960; Dublin, NH: William L. Bauhan, 1974
- The Next Fine Day, (illustrated by Nora S. Unwin), New York: The John Day Company, 1962
- Howard Thurman: Portrait of a Practical Dreamer, New York: The John Day Company, 1964
- Is There a Doctor in the Barn: A Day in the Life of Forrest F. Tenney, Veterinarian, New York: Dutton, 1966; Dublin, NH: William L. Bauhan, 1977
- With Pipe, Paddle and Song: A Story of the French-Canadian Voyageurs circa 1750 (Illustrated by Nora S. Unwin), New York: Dutton, 1968
- Skeezer: Dog With a Mission, New York: Harvey House, 1973 (made into a 1983 film)
- My Diary – My World, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981
- My Widening World, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983
- One Writer's Way, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1984
- Sound Friendships; the story of Willa and her hearing ear dog, Woodstock,VT: The Countryman Press, 1987
- Spanning Time: A diary keeper becomes a writer Carolyn P. Yoder, ed., Peterbourough, NH: Cobblestone Pub., 1996
- Open the Door; a gathering of poems and prose pieces, Hopkinton, NH: New Hampshire Antiquarian Society, 1999
Compiled or edited
- Gathered Grace, a short selection of G. MacDonald's Poems, Cambridge: W. Heffer and Sons, 1938
- Enys Tregarthen, Piskey Folk: A Book of Cornish Legends, New York: Day, 1940
- Enys Tregarthen, The Doll Who Came Alive, New York: Day, 1940
- Joseph, the King James version of a well-loved tale, New York: Knopf, 1947
- Enys Tregarthen, The White Ring, New York: Harcourt, 1949
- The Christmas Story, New York: Alladin, 1949
- Your Prayers and Mine, Boston: Houghton, 1954
- George MacDonald, Sir Gibbie, New York: Dutton, 1963
- Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University.
- Elizabeth Yates, 95, Author Of Noted Children's Books, obituary in the New York Times.
- Margaret Trudell, Elizabeth Yates: A Biography and Bibliography of Her Works (Authorhouse, 2003), p. 1.
- Amos Fortune Author Notes.
- Brave Interval by Elizabeth Yates, end matter.
- Trudell, p. 6.
- Trudell, pp. 2–3.
- With Pipe, Paddle and Song: A Story of the French-Canadian Voyageurs circa 1750 (Illustrated by Nora S. Unwin), New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1968, end matter.
- Trudell, p. 33.
- The Nashua Telegraph – Jun 2, 1976.
- Sophia Smith Collection.
- William Allen White Children's Book Award Past Winners.
- Sarah Josepha Hale Award.
- New Hampshire Association for the Blind History.
- The Nashua Telegraph – Apr 28, 1978.
- Concord Public Library.
- Jan Bloom, Who Should We Then Read?, Cokato, Minnesota: BooksBloom, 2001.
- Skeezer (1982) (TV) at IMDb.
- Essay Diary of a Dream: Triumph of the Creative Spirit of Elizabeth Yates by Janice M. Alberghene, contained in Triumphs of the spirit in children's literature Francelia Butler and Richard Rotert, editors, Hamden, Conn: Library Professional Publications, 1986
- Elizabeth Yates: A Biography and Bibliography of Her Works by Margaret L. Trudell