Brown, Margaret Wise, 1910-1952

Alternative names
Birth 1910-05-23
Death 1952-11-13

Biographical notes:

Author of children's books including well known classics Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny; resident of New York, N.Y., and Vinalhaven, Me.

From the description of Margaret Wise Brown collection, 1929-1954 (bulk 1937-1952). (Westerly Public Library). WorldCat record id: 225081337

American author of children's books; posthumously awarded 1984 Kerlan Award along with her illustrators and editors.

From the description of Papers, 1942-1960. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62403049

American author of children's books.

From the description of Goodnight moon : production material. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62490765

From the description of The diggers : production material. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62490763

From the description of The hidden house : production material. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62490766

From the description of The bad little duckhunter : production material. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62490762

From the description of The dream book : first comes the dream : production material. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62438430

From the description of The little brass band : production material. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62686506

From the description of The runaway bunny : production material. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62403050

Brown was Hollins College graduate (A.B. 1932) and children's author of over 100 books, including Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny. After earning her degree in English Literature, she attended the Bank Street School in New York for teacher training where she was inspired to write for children. She also served as William R. Scott's first editor in 1938. Her works employed the "here and now" approach of the Bank Street School's philosophy: the everyday world of the young child. Sense perception, size comparison, and reader participation were utilized in her books. Brown died in 1952 at age 42.

From the description of Margaret Wise Brown Papers, 1938-1960. (Hollins University). WorldCat record id: 56407843

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1910, Margaret Wise Brown is known for her picture books based on everyday experiences of the young child. Her 1946 book, The little island (illustrated by Leonard Weisgard), was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1947, but her most famous title was Goodnight moon.

From the description of Margaret Wise Brown papers, ca. 1937-1944. (University of Southern Mississippi, Regional Campus). WorldCat record id: 52568683

Margaret Wise Brown was born May 23, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York, and raised with an older brother and younger sister on Long Island. Her father, Robert Brown, worked for the American Manufacturing Company and her mother, Maude Johnson Brown, was a homemaker. She described her childhood as difficult and lonely. Her parents' marriage was not happy, and she spent a lot of time alone, exploring the beaches and woods of Long Island, and caring for her numerous pets.

Margaret left home at age 13 to attend boarding school in Switzerland, returning two years later to complete her high school education at Dana Hall in Massachusetts. In 1932 she received her B.A. from Hollins College in Virginia, her mother's alma mater. She then moved to New York City to intern at the Bank Street School, an experimental school for child-development study and teacher training, with intentions of becoming a teacher. While Margaret decided not to pursue a teaching career, the Writers Laboratory at the school inspired her. Margaret became a children's book editor at the William R. Scott publishing company, while also working at Bank Street and freelance writing. The books she wrote and edited were approved or revised based on responses to the story by groups of children enrolled at Bank Street. She published her first children's book, When the Wind Blows, in 1937. Over the next 14 years she published over 100 books for children, including the well known classics, Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny.

Margaret Wise Brown entertained friends at her two homes, Manhattan's Cobble Court and The Only House on Vinalhaven Island in Maine. Animals were always a big part of her life. At one point she shared her small Manhattan home with a cat, a dog, a flying squirrel, and a goat. She had a long and difficult relationship with Blanche Oelrichs, a poet who wrote under the pen name "Michael Strange". Oelrichs had also been married to John Barrymore, the actor. Margaret eventually became engaged to a younger man, James Stillman ("Pebbles") Rockefeller, Jr. She was on a pre-honeymoon trip to Europe when she fell ill. She died in France of an embolism on November 13, 1952, two days after appendectomy surgery.

From the guide to the Margaret Wise Brown papers, Brown (Margaret Wise) Papers, 1929-1952, (Westerly Public Library)

Margaret Wise Brown was born May 23, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York. She attended school in Massachusetts, Virginia and New York, and graduated from Columbia University with a BA in 1932. During the 1930s, Margaret Wise Brown worked as an editor for Bank Street Publications, and from 1938-1941 at William R. Scott, Publisher. She published her first book for young children, When the Wind Blew, in 1937. Throughout her prolific career, Margaret Wise Brown produced dozens of quality books for the young child that focused on their interests, fears, concerns and experiences, using a style that told a story in simple yet lyrical language that young children could readily understand and appreciate.

Critics have called her a "pioneer" in the "new approach to writing for children," an approach that went beyond "traditional narrative" to emphasize the reality of a child's world. Her "Noisy Books" help young children identify sounds and connect them to their creator, and her classic story The Runaway Bunny, along with some of her other works, focus on a child's need for love and protection and the assurance that these are always there.

In Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown and her illustrator Clement Hurd created a memorable bedtime story that has remained a favorite of children and critics for decades. Margaret Wise Brown also wrote verse and humorous stories. She also wrote under the pseudonyms Timothy Hay and Golden MacDonald, and under the joint pseudonym Juniper Sage with Edith Thacher Hurd. Margaret Wise Brown died unexpectedly on November 13, 1952. In 1984, Margaret Wise Brown, her editors, and illustrators represented by Clement Hurd were awarded the 1984 Kerlan Award.

From the guide to the Margaret Wise Brown papers, 1942-1959, 1971-1972, (University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections [clrc])


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Steam shovels--Poetry
  • Children's literature, American
  • Holes--Juvenile poetry
  • Children's literature, American--20th century
  • Women authors, American--Homes and haunts--Photographs
  • Dreams--Juvenile poetry
  • Children's poetry, American
  • Children's literature--Publishing--History--20th century
  • Bands (Music)--Fiction
  • American poetry
  • Authors, American--Correspondence
  • Music--Juvenile
  • Publishers and publishing--Correspondence
  • Stories in rhyme
  • Holes--Poetry
  • Dwellings--Juvenile poetry
  • Duck shooting--Juvenile fiction
  • Women authors, American--Diaries
  • Children's literature--History--20th century
  • Bands (Music)--Juvenile fiction
  • Women authors--20th century
  • Duck shooting--Fiction
  • Hunting--Juvenile fiction
  • Book editors--Correspondence
  • Excavation--Juvenile poetry
  • Dreams--Poetry
  • Children's literature--Manuscripts
  • Authors and publishers--History--20th century
  • Rabbits--Fiction
  • Bedtime--Fiction
  • Dwellings--Poetry
  • Hunting--Fiction
  • Rabbits--Juvenile fiction


  • Women authors, American


  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Maine--Vinalhaven (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)