Rachel Field

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Rachel Field
Born(1894-09-19)September 19, 1894
New York City
DiedMarch 15, 1942(1942-03-15) (aged 47)
Los Angeles, California
Resting placeStockbridge, Massachusetts
Alma materRadcliffe College
Period1924–1944 as an adult
GenreDrama, poetry, novels, children's fiction
Notable works
  • Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
  • Time Out of Mind
  • All This and Heaven, too
  • Something Told the Wild Geese
Notable awardsNewbery Award
National Book Award
SpouseArthur S. Pederson
RelativesHenriette Desportes Field

Rachel Lyman Field (September 19, 1894 – March 15, 1942)[1] was an American novelist, poet, and children's fiction writer. She is best known for the Newbery Award–winning Hitty, Her First Hundred Years. Field also won a National Book Award, Newbery Honor award and two of her books are on the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award list.


Field was a descendant of David Dudley Field, the early New England clergyman and writer. She grew up in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Her first published work was an essay entitled "A Winter Walk" printed in St. Nicholas Magazine when she was 16.[2] She was educated at Radcliffe College where she studied writing under George Pierce Baker.[2]

According to Ruth Hill Viguers, Field was "fifteen when she first visited Maine and fell under the spell of its 'island-scattered coast'. Calico Bush [1931] still stands out as a near-perfect re-creation of people and place in a story of courage, understated and beautiful."[3]

Field married Arthur S. Pederson in 1935, with whom she collaborated in 1937 on To See Ourselves. In 1938 one of her plays was adapted for the British film The Londonderry Air.[4] She was also successful as an author of adult fiction, writing the bestsellers Time Out of Mind (1935), All This and Heaven Too (1938), and And Now Tomorrow (1942). They were adapted as films produced under their own titles in 1947, 1940, and 1944, respectively.[citation needed] Field also wrote the English lyrics for the version of Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" used in the Disney film Fantasia.[5]

She also wrote a story about the nativity of Jesus, "All Through the Night".

She moved to Hollywood, where she lived with her husband and daughter.[6]

Rachel Field died at the Good Samaritan Hospital on March 15, 1942, of pneumonia following an operation.[7]


Hitty, Her First Hundred Years received the Newbery Award in 1930, for the year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."[8] As a publicity stunt, Field was informed of her win via radio by a group of librarians and ALA President Milton J. Ferguson who were flying in a second plane as Field flew from New Mexico to Los Angeles.[9]

The 1944 (posthumous) Prayer for a Child, with a story by Field and illustrations by Elizabeth Orton Jones, won the Caldecott Medal recognizing the year's "most distinguished picture book for children" published in the U.S.[10]

Hitty and Prayer for a Child were both named to the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award list of books deemed to belong "on the same bookshelf" with Carroll's Alice. Prayer for a Child was one of the seventeen inaugural selections in 1958, which were originally published 1893 to 1957. Hitty was added in 1961.

Time Out of Mind won one of the inaugural National Book Awards as the Most Distinguished Novel of 1935, voted by the American Booksellers Association.[11][12]

Selected works[edit]

  • 1924, The Pointed People, poetry
  • 1924, Cinderella Married, A Comedy in One Act, drama
  • 1924, Six Plays, drama
  • 1926, Taxis and Toadstools, poetry
  • 1926, Eliza and the Elves, fiction
  • 1926, An Alphabet for Boys and Girls, poetry
  • 1927, The Magic Pawnshop, fiction
  • 1927, The Cross-Stitch Heart And Other One-Act Plays, drama
  • 1928, Little Dog Toby, fiction
  • 1929, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, fiction—winner of the 1930 Newbery Medal[8]
  • 1930, A Circus Garland: Poems, poetry
  • 1931, Calico Bush, fiction
  • 1931, The Bad Penny: A Drama in One Act, drama
  • 1932, Hepatica Hawks, fiction (translated into German by Annemarie Böll "Die Tochter des Riesen")
  • 1933, Just Across The Street, fiction
  • 1934, Branches Green, poetry (including "Something Told the Wild Geese"[13])
  • 1934, Susanna B And William C, fiction
  • 1934, God's Pocket, historical non-fiction
  • 1935, Time Out Of Mind , fiction
  • 1936, Fear Is the Thorn, poetry
  • 1936, First Class Matter: A Comedy in One Act, drama
  • 1937, To See Ourselves, by Field and her husband Arthur Pederson, fiction
  • 1938, All This and Heaven Too, based on the true story of Field's great-aunt, Henriette Deluzy-Desportes, and made into a movie, All This, and Heaven Too, in 1940.
  • 1938(?), The Londonderry Air, drama; produced as a film, The Londonderry Air (1938)
  • 1940(?), "Ave Maria" lyrics for the film Fantasia (1940)
  • 1940, All Through the Night, nativity story[14]
  • 1942, And Now Tomorrow, fiction
  • 1944, Prayer for a Child, fiction, picture book illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones—winner of the 1945 Caldecott Medal[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rachel Field, 47, Novelist, is Dead". The New York Times. 16 March 1942. p. 15.
  2. ^ a b Wing, Donald G. (1956). "The Rachel Field Exhibition". The Yale University Library Gazette. 31 (1): 53–54. ISSN 0044-0175. JSTOR 40857725.
  3. ^ Ruth Hill Viguers, "Introduction" (date?) to Calico Bush by Rachel Field (1931).
  4. ^ Rachel Field at Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  5. ^ Fantasia, end screen credits, last segment "Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria".
  6. ^ Newbery Medal Books: 1922–1955, eds. Bertha Mahony Miller and Elinor Whitney Field, The Horn Book, Inc., 1955, LOC 55-13968, pp. 77–85.
  7. ^ Fordyce, Rachel (1978). "Field, Rachel (Lyman)". In Kirkpatrick, D.L. (ed.). Twentieth-century Children's Writers. London: Macmillan. p. 445. ISBN 978-0-33323-414-3.
  8. ^ a b "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present". Association for Library Service to Children. ALA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  9. ^ Horning, Kathleen T (Spring 2022). "One Hundred Years: A Timeline of the Newbery Medal". Children & Libraries. 20 (1): 13. doi:10.5860/cal.20.1.12. S2CID 247646701 – via ProQuest.
  10. ^ a b "Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present". Association for Library Service to Children. ALA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  11. ^ "Books and Authors", The New York Times, April 12, 1936, page BR12.
  12. ^ "Lewis is Scornful of Radio Culture: Nothing Ever Will Replace the Old-Fashioned Book, He Tells Booksellers", The New York Times, May 12, 1936, page 25.
  13. ^ "Something Told the Wild Geese by Rachel Field". The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Minnesota Public Radio. September 22, 1999.
  14. ^ Better Homes and Gardens treasury of Christmas ideas: and a selection of favorite stories,poems, and carols. Meredith Press. 1966. p. 4.

External links[edit]