Walter R. Brooks

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Walter R. Brooks
Born Walter Rollin Brooks
(1886-01-09)January 9, 1886
Rome, New York, USA
Died August 17, 1958(1958-08-17) (aged 72)
Roxbury, New York
Occupation Writer
Genre Short stories, children's novels

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 he later did editorial work for several magazines, including "a nonfiction stint with The New Yorker 1932–1933".[1] 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. Among the latter were a series (from 1937) of short stories featuring "a talking horse and his drunken owner"; it was the basis for a 1960s television comedy series Mister Ed.[1] (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 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".[2]

In 2009, Overlook Press published a biography on the life and work of Walter R. Brooks, 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.


  1. ^ a b "Brooks, Walter R". Revised November 13, 2014. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction ( Retrieved 2015-01-29. Entry by 'JC', John Clute.
  2. ^ "Recommended Reading", The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1954, p. 95.

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