Michener, James A. (James Albert), 1907-1997

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1907-02-03
Death 1997-10-16
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Author; d. 1997.

From the description of James A. Michener Chesapeake collection, 1975-1978. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70973705

Author.

From the description of James A. Michener papers, 1906-1992 (bulk 1945-1992). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71063535

James Albert Michener was born in 1907 to unknown parents and raised as an orphan in the care of widow Mabel Michener of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. By the time he graduated from high school in 1925, he had visited 45 out of the 48 states. He was given a scholarship to Swarthmore, and after graduating summa cum laude in 1929, he traveled and continued his education at nine universities inside and outside the United States. During this time, he also taught in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and at the Harvard School of Education. When he was not teaching, Michener worked as a textbook editor in New York, and he joined the British Merchant Marines. During WWII, he joined the Navy, making use of his experience in the British Merchant Marines to climb through the ranks to lieutenant and his knowledge of history to carry out sensitive assignments in the South Pacific. It was this experience that brought about Tales of the South Pacific in 1947, which won a Pulitzer Prize. Michener used this novel as the cornerstone of his writing career, publishing almost 50 books in the next 50 years, including Sayonara, Hawaii, The Source, Iberia, Caravans, The Covenant, Sports in America, and Poland. In 1977, a four-part public television series called The World of Michener covered Israel, Hawaii, Spain, and Poland, just a few of the countries upon which his books have been based. Several other books have been turned into movies or miniseries, and two of his novels have been turned into musicals (most notably South Pacific, which won its own Pulitzer Prize). During the time that he was publishing, however, Michener did not ignore the world around him. He ran for Congress in 1962 and held positions on several committees, including the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, the U.S. Postal Service stamp committee, and an advisory position on a council for NASA. He also spoke often at congressional hearings and at functions of those organizations in which he held particular interest. James A. Michener died at the age of 90 on October 16, 1997 in Texas, three years after his third wife, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa. He had no children.

From the description of James A. Michener Papers, clippings, publications and other material related to the Colorado State College of Education, 934-1941, 1949, 1972, 1999, 2005, bulk 1934-1941. (University of Northern Colorado). WorldCat record id: 437010802

James A. Michener was born in New York City in 1907 and traveled extensively throughout the United States as a young adult. He graduated with honors from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and also attended St. Andrew's University in Scotland before returning to teach in Pennsylvania. Michener subsequently held teaching positions at the Colorado State Teachers College and Harvard University, and then worked as a textbook editor in New York until World War II erupted. Young Michener joined the Navy and his experiences in the Pacific Theater helped shape his first book, Tales of the South Pacific, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. Throughout his writing career, Michener drew acclaim for his masterfully crafted historical novels, among them Texas, published in 1985. Tracing the lives of four families, this epic spans four centuries and two continents and charts the formation of several great dynasties from the age of the conquistadors to modern times.

Michener's involvement in public policy issues included a run for Congress in 1962, serving as secretary to the Pennsylvania constitutional convention, and acting as an advisor to NASA, the U.S. Postal Service, and the International Broadcasting Board. His many honors and awards included recognition by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and the United States' highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom. Michener spent his final years based at the University of Texas at Austin and died in 1997.

From the guide to the James A. Michener, Texas, Project Archive, 1981-1992, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Biographical Note

  • 1907, Feb. 3: Born, New York, N.Y.
  • 1929: B.A., Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.
  • 1931 - 1933 : Studied at University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland, and traveled in Europe
  • 1933 - 1936 : Teacher, George School, Newtown, Pa.
  • 1935: Married Patti Koon (divorced 1948)
  • 1936 - 1939 : Associate professor, Colorado State College of Education, Greeley, Colo.
  • 1937: M. A., Colorado State College of Education, Greeley, Colo.
  • 1939 - 1940 : Visiting professor, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1941 - 1949 : Associate editor, Macmillan Co., New York, N.Y.
  • 1944 - 1946 : Active duty, United States Naval Reserve in the South Pacific
  • 1947: Published Tales of the South Pacific (New York: The Macmillan Co. 326 pp.)
  • 1948: Married Vange Nord (divorced 1955)
  • 1948: Awarded Pulitzer Prize for fiction for 1947 for Tales of the South Pacific
  • 1953: Published The Bridges at Toko-Ri ([New York]: Random House. 146 pp.)
  • 1953: President, Asia Foundation
  • 1955: Married Mari Yoriko Sabusawa (died 1994)
  • 1957: Member, United States Advisory Committee on the Arts Published Rascals in Paradise, with A. Grove Day (New York: Random House. 374 pp.)
  • 1959: Published Hawaii (New York: Random House. 937 pp.)
  • 1960: Campaigned for John F. Kennedy for president
  • 1962: Unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • 1965: Published The Source (New York: Random House. 909 pp.)
  • 1967 - 1968 : Delegate, Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention
  • 1970 - 1976 : Member, United States Advisory Commission on Information
  • 1971: Published Kent State: What Happened and Why (New York: Random House. 559 pp.)
  • 1972: Member of the press covering Richard Nixon's visit to China
  • 1974: Published Centennial (New York: Random House. 909 pp.)
  • 1977: Awarded the Medal of Freedom
  • 1982: Published Space (New York: Random House. 622 pp.)
  • 1983: Published Poland (New York: Random House. 556 pp.)
  • 1983 - 1989 : Member, United States Board for International Broadcasting
  • 1986: Published Texas (Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press. 918 pp.)
  • 1992: Published The World Was My Home (New York: Random House. 519 pp.)
  • 1997, Oct. 16: Died, Austin, Tex.

From the guide to the James A. Michener Papers, 1906-1992, (bulk 1945-1992), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Robert Vavra is an American-born photographer, who is considered to be the world’s premier photographer of horses. Vavra was born on March 9, 1935 in Glendale, California. In 1958, with little money and no local contacts, he moved to Seville, Spain to pursue his interest in studying Spanish bulls. Vavra has written over 30 books, and his expertise has been used by a wide-variety of corporations, organizations and individuals ranging from the Walt Disney Company to Bo Derek to the Russian Republic. He has worked within the film industry on such films as Lawrence of Arabia, Patton and The Horse Whisperer.

Vavra meet James Michener in Seville, and the two developed a life-long friendship. Vavra often served as Michener’s photographer and his photographs illustrated Michener’s Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections.

From the guide to the Robert Vavra photographs and correspondence related to James A. Michener, 1965-2005, 1965-2005; bulk 1965-1985., (James A. Michener Library, Archival Services Department, )

James Albert Michener was born in 1907 to unknown parents and raised as an orphan in the care of widow Mabel Michener of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. By the time he graduated from high school in 1925, he had visited 45 out of the 48 states. He was given a scholarship to Swarthmore, and after graduating summa cum laude in 1929, he traveled and continued his education at nine universities inside and outside the United States. During this time, he also taught in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and at the Harvard School of Education.

When he was not teaching, Michener worked as a textbook editor in New York, and he joined the British Merchant Marines. During WWII, he joined the Navy, making use of his experience in the British Merchant Marines to climb through the ranks to lieutenant and his knowledge of history to carry out sensitive assignments in the South Pacific. It was this experience that brought about Tales of the South Pacific in 1947, which won a Pulitzer Prize. Michener used this novel as the cornerstone of his writing career, publishing almost 50 books in the next 50 years, including Sayonara, Hawaii, The Source, Iberia, Caravans, The Covenant, Sports in America, and Poland.

In 1977, a four-part public television series called The World of Michener covered Israel, Hawaii, Spain, and Poland, just a few of the countries upon which his books have been based. Several other books have been turned into movies or miniseries, and two of his novels have been turned into musicals (most notably South Pacific, which won its own Pulitzer Prize).

During the time that he was publishing, however, Michener did not ignore the world around him. He ran for Congress in 1962 and held positions on several committees, including the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, the U.S. Postal Service stamp committee, and an advisory position on a council for NASA. He also spoke often at congressional hearings and at functions of those organizations in which he held particular interest. He also spoke often at congressional hearings and at functions of those organizations in which he held particular interest. He was awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, by President Gerald R. Ford in 1977.

James A. Michener died at the age of 90 on October 16, 1997 in Texas, three years after his third wife, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa. He had no children.

From the guide to the James A. Michener Papers Collection, Alaska, Collection, 1949-1999; bulk 1980s., (James A. Michener Library, Archival Services Department, )

James Albert Michener was born in 1907 to unknown parents and raised as an orphan in the care of widow Mabel Michener of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. By the time he graduated from high school in 1925, he had visited 45 out of the 48 states. He was given a scholarship to Swarthmore, and after graduating summa cum laude in 1929, he traveled and continued his education at nine universities inside and outside the United States. During this time, he also taught in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and at the Harvard School of Education.

When he was not teaching, Michener worked as a textbook editor in New York, and he joined the British Merchant Marines. During WWII, he joined the Navy, making use of his experience in the British Merchant Marines to climb through the ranks to lieutenant and his knowledge of history to carry out sensitive assignments in the South Pacific. It was this experience that brought about Tales of the South Pacific in 1947, which won a Pulitzer Prize. Michener used this novel as the cornerstone of his writing career, publishing almost 50 books in the next 50 years, including Sayonara, Hawaii, The Source, Iberia, Caravans, The Covenant, Sports in America, and Poland.

In 1977, a four-part public television series called The World of Michener covered Israel, Hawaii, Spain, and Poland, just a few of the countries upon which his books have been based. Several other books have been turned into movies or miniseries, and two of his novels have been turned into musicals (most notably South Pacific, which won its own Pulitzer Prize).

During the time that he was publishing, however, Michener did not ignore the world around him. He ran for Congress in 1962 and held positions on several committees, including the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, the U.S. Postal Service stamp committee, and an advisory position on a council for NASA. He also spoke often at congressional hearings and at functions of those organizations in which he held particular interest. He was awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, by President Gerald R. Ford in 1977.

James A. Michener died at the age of 90 on October 16, 1997 in Texas, three years after his third wife, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa. He had no children.

From the guide to the James A. Michener Papers, clippings, publications and other material related to the Colorado State College of Education, 1934-1941, 1949, 1972, 1999, 2005, 1934-1941, 1949, 1972, 1999, 2005, 1936-1941, (James A. Michener Library, Archival Services Department, )

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Subjects:

  • American literature
  • Black-and--White Negatives
  • Foreign correspondents--China
  • American literature--Stage adaptations
  • Correspondence
  • Presidents--United States--Election--1960
  • American literature--Film and video adaptations
  • Presidents--Election--1960
  • Rogues and vagabonds
  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • Retirement communities--Fiction
  • Authors and publishers
  • Adventure and adventurers
  • Colorado State College of Education
  • Contact sheets
  • Foreign correspondents
  • Older people--Fiction
  • Foreign correspondents--Korea
  • Korean War, 1950-1953--Journalism
  • Art--Collectors and collecting
  • Texas Center for Writers

Occupations:

  • Authors, American
  • Authors
  • Novelists, American

Places:

  • China (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Oceania (as recorded)
  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Greeley (Colo.) (as recorded)
  • Korea (as recorded)
  • Eastern Shore (Md. and Va.) (as recorded)
  • Florida (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Chesapeake Bay (Md. and Va.) (as recorded)