December 3, 1914|
Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
|Died||January 25, 2001
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Respiratory failure|
Wright was born in the Thornhill section of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, but spent her childhood in the United States, growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, the portrait artist Edith Stevenson Wright, while her brother, Blaine, went to live with his father, Ivan Wright, a theater critic in New York City. The siblings did not meet again until Dare moved to New York City in her twenties. Wright spent her formative years in Cleveland Heights.
Wright graduated from Laurel School in Shaker Heights in 1933 at the top of her class, and relocated to New York to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1935, she was cast in a small role as a maid in a stage production of Pride and Prejudice, which she performed in Washington, D.C. and on Broadway.
In 1957, she photographed her childhood Lenci doll, Edith, along with two teddy bears bought at FAO Schwarz, for her first children's book, titled The Lonely Doll. The book made The New York Times Best Seller list for children's books. In November 2010, The British Newspaper The Guardian named The Lonely Doll one of the 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of all time. It was followed by eighteen other stories. Out of print for many years, it was reissued in 1998, introducing Wright to a new generation of readers. Make Me Real, which features another of Wright's childhood dolls, and Ocracoke in The Fifties, her only book written for adults, have been published posthumously.
Dare Wright's photographs were exhibited for the first time in 2012 by Fred Torres Collaborations.
In the midst of her alcoholism, Wright lived on the streets of New York City before being admitted to Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island in May 1995 after suffering respiratory failure and being placed on a ventilator. She would die five and a half years later in the hospita on January 25, 2001 at the age of 86.
- The Lonely Doll. Doubleday, (1957) - Kirkus Star recipient "will be pet of the nursery"
- Holiday for Edith and the Bears. Doubleday, (1958)
- The Little One. Doubleday, (1959)
- The Doll and the Kitten. Doubleday, (1960)
- Date with London. Random House, (1961)
- The Lonely Doll Learns a Lesson. Doubleday, (1961)
- Lona, a Fairy Tale. Random House, (1963)
- Edith and Mr. Bear. Random House, (1964)
- Take Me Home. Random House, (1965)
- A Gift from the Lonely Doll. Random House, (1966)
- Look at a Gull. Random House, (1967) - "Against striking full-page photographs focused on descriptive and dramatic essentials, a gull tells the story of his life. As the simple rhythmic text takes over, the reader sheds his distrust of the method of telling and his assumed identity becomes quite natural....Come fly away with me somewhere between nature study and poetry."
- Edith and Big Bad Bill. Random House, (1968)
- Look at a Colt. Random House, (1969)
- The Kitten's Little Boy. Four Winds Press, (1971)
- Edith and Little Bear Lend a Hand. Random House, (1972) - "Fans of Edith and her ursine companions may find them adorable in beads and fringe and miniature picket signs, but we'd prefer our ecology lessons with more substance and less fancy wrapping."
- Look at a Calf. Random House, (1974)
- Look at a Kitten. Random House, (1975)
- Edith and Midnight. Doubleday, (1978)
- Edith and the Duckling. Doubleday, (1981)
Books still in print
- The Lonely Doll. Doubleday, (2013) First time issued in paperback.
- Holiday For Edith and the Bears. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- The Doll and the Kitten. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- Lona A Fairy Tale. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- Edith and the Duckling. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- Edith And Midnight. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- Edith And Mr. Bear. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- The Doll And The Kitten. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- A Gift From The Lonely Doll. Dare Wright Media (2013) - "Wright's signature b&w photographs evoke a voyeuristic feel."
- The Lonely Doll Learns A Lesson. Dare Wright Media (2013)
- Make Me Real. Xlibris. (2007)
- Ocracoke in the Fifties. John F. Blair, (2006)
- Nathan 2004, p. 44.
- Nathan 2004, p. 70.
- Nathan 2004, p. 71.
- Colman, David (October 17, 2004). "The Unsettling Stories of Two Lonely Dolls". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
- Inskeep, Steve (January 5, 2005). "Dare Wright's 'Lonely Doll'". National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- Kellaway, Kate (November 28, 2010). "The 10 best illustrated children's books". The Guardian. London.
- Nathan 2004, p. 267.
- Maksel, Rebecca (September 5, 2004). "Trapped in a doll's house / The disturbed, lonely writer behind a children's best-seller". SF Gate. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- "Dare Wright – Children's Author, 86". The New York Times. February 3, 2001. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
- "The Lonely Doll". www.kirkusreviews.com. Kirkus Media LLC. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- "Look At A Gull". www.kirkusreviews.com. Kirkus Media LLC. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- "Edith & Little Bear Lend A Hand". www.kirkusreviews.com. Kirkus Media LLC. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- "Lonely Doll". www.publishersweekly.com. PWxyz LLC. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- "A Gift from the Lonely Doll". www.publishersweekly.com. PWxyz LLC. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- Nathan, Jean (2004). The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright. Picador. ISBN 978-0-312-42492-3.