Walter R. Brooks
Walter Rollin Brooks (January 9, 1886 – August 17, 1958) was an American writer best remembered for his short stories and children's books, particularly those about Freddy the Pig and other anthropomorphic animal inhabitants of the "Bean farm" in upstate New York.
Born in Rome, New York, Brooks attended college at the University of Rochester and subsequently studied homeopathic medicine in New York City. He dropped out after two years, however, and returned to Rochester, where he married his first wife, Anne Shepard, in 1909. Brooks found employment with an advertising agency in Utica, and then "retired" in 1911, evidently because he came into a considerable inheritance. His retirement was not permanent: in 1917, he went to work for the American Red Cross and later did editorial work for several magazines, including The New Yorker. In 1940, Brooks turned to his own writing for his full-time occupation. Walter married his second wife, Dorothy Collins, following the death of Anne in 1952.
The first works Brooks published were poems and short stories. His short story "Ed Signs The Pledge," about a talking horse, was the basis for the 1960s television comedy series Mister Ed. (Credit for creating the characters is given, in each episode, to "Walter Brooks." Since Brooks himself had died by the time production began on the show, as of early November of 2013, it was not known whether his estate collected royalties from its production.) His most enduring works, however, are the 26 books he wrote about Freddy the Pig and his friends. Boucher and McComas, for example, praised Freddy and the Spaceship, saying it "offers wit, sound structural plotting, genuine character-humor, and admirable English prose."
In 2009, Overlook Press published a biography on the life and work of Walter R. Brooks titled Talking Animals and Others: The Life and Work of Walter R. Brooks, Creator of Freddy the Pig by Michael Cart. ISBN 1-59020-170-1
- "Recommended Reading," F&SF, January 1954, p.95.
- International Friends of Freddy
- Harley Hahn's Freddy the Pig information page
- Mr. Eha's Place, a fan site celebrating Walter R. Brooks's Freddy the Pig series
- Jill Morgan's Freddy the Pig pages