Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown

Real Name
Margaret Wise Brown
Year of Birth
May 23 1910
Place of Birth
Pomfret, CT
Official Website
Year of Death
November 13, 1952

Margaret Wise Brown (May 23 1910 – 13 November 1952) was a prolific American author of children's literature, which include Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, both illustrated by Clement Hurd.

PersonalHistory Edit

Brown was born in Pomfret, CT, and she attended boarding school in 1923 in Woodstock while her parents were in Canterbury. She later attended Dana Hall School in 1926, where she did well in athletics. After graduation at Dana Hall in 1928, Brown went on to Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia.

Following graduation at Hollins College in 1932, Brown worked in teaching, and also studied art. It was while working at the Bank Street Experimental School in New York City that she started writing books for children. Her first book was When the Wind Blew. Brown went on to develop her Here and Now stories, and later the Noisy Book series while employed as editor at William R. Scott Publishing Company. Her popular book The Little Fur Family, illustrated by Garth Williams, was published in 1946. In 1947, Brown wrote The Little Island under the pseudonym Golden MacDonald (illustrated by Leonard Weisgard), which won the Caldecott Medal. In the early 1950s, she wrote several books for the Little Golden Books series including The Color Kittens, Mister Dog and Sailor Dog.

Starting in the summer of 1940, Brown was in a long-term relationship with Michael Strange, poet, playwright, and actress. The relationship began as something of a mentoring one, but became a romantic relationship including co-habitating at 10 Gracie Street beginning in 1943.1 Strange died in 1950.

In 1952 Brown met James Stillman Rockefeller Jr. at a party, and he later proposed to her. Later that year, while on a book tour in Nice, France, Brown died of an embolism two weeks after emergency surgery for an ovarian cyst[1]. She was 42 years old at the time of her death.

Brown bequeathed the royalties to many of her books including Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny to Albert Clarke, the son of a neighbor who was nine years old when she died. In 2000, reporter Joshua Prager detailed in the Wall Street Journal the troubled life of Mr. Clarke who has squandered the millions of dollars the books have earned him and who believes that Wise Brown was his mother, a claim others dismiss.

In March of 2006, Sony BMG released The Runaway Bunny: A Concert piece for Violin, Reader and Orchestra. Based on Ms. Brown's book, it is narrated by Brooke Shields. The violin solo is performed by Ittai Shapira and Barry Wordsworth conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The piece was composed by Glen Roven. More information about this work can be found at

Many of Brown's books have been rereleased with new illustrations decades after their original publication. Many more of her books are still in print with the original illustrations. Her books have been translated into several languages and biographies on Brown for children have been written by Leonard S. Marcus (Harper Paperbacks, 1999) and Jill C. Wheeler (Checkerboard Books, 2006).







Margaret Wise Brown @ Wikipedia


  • "Brown, Margaret Wise 1910-1952." Something About the Author. 100:35-39. 1999
  • Marcus, Leonard S., "Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon," Beacon Press:1992.


1. Marcus, 167-178, 251.

Creator GalleryEdit

Margaret Wise Brown Gallery