Marshall, JamesVariant names
James Marshall was born October 10, 1942, in San Antonio, Texas to George E., an insurance salesman, and Cecille Harrison Marshall. Initially interested in music, he studied viola at the New England Conservatory of Music, 1960-1961, until nerve damage in his hand forced him to quit. Marshall also attended Southern Connecticut State College (B.A., 1967) and Trinity College (1967-1968). In addition, he worked as a French and Spanish teacher at Cathedral High School in Boston, MA (1968-1970). He eventually became an illustrator and author of numerous children's books.
Marshall, who also worked using the pseudonym Edward Marshall, is best known for his series of George and Martha books, in addition to The Stupids, Fox, and Miss Nelson . Furthermore, he has illustrated new versions of many children's classics, including Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears . In 1989, Marshall received Caldecott Honors from the American Library Association for Goldilocks and the Three Bears . He resided in Mansfield, Connecticut until his death from a brain tumor on 13 October 1992 .
From the guide to the James Marshall Papers, undated, 1965-1999., (Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries)
James Marshall was born October 10, 1942, in San Antonio, Texas. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and graduated from Southern Connecticut State College in 1967. In 1970 he began working as a free lance author and illustrator, and the following year illustrated his first book for children, Plink, Plink, Plink by Byrd Baylor.
In 1972 Marshall published the first of his George and Martha books, the story of two hippos humorously conveying their experiences and friendship. The story's emphasis on friendship and the witty way it was written for very young children set the tone for many of Marshall's later works. Throughout his prolific career he was frequently praised by critics for the wit and humor evident in his works, their occasional sly sophistication, and his ability to treat subjects near and dear to young children, such as friendship and respect, with style and a lack of condescension to young readers.
Marshall's works are considered simple in artistic style. Most are done in his trademark line drawing, through his stories' use of satire and humor to convey such themes as friendship betweens the dissimilar, and respect and tolerance for those different from oneself. These are hailed by critics as equally likely to appeal to adults as well as children.
The Stupids series, written by Harry Allard and illustrated by Marshall, satirize the American nuclear family of the 1950s, while their Miss Nelson series tells of the clever schoolteacher and her alter-ego who teach the misbehaving students at the Horace Smedley School a lesson or two. Marshall also retold and illustrated a number of classic fairy tales, giving them a new freshness; his retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears was awarded a Caldecott Honor citation in 1989.
Marshall also wrote a number of books under the pseudonym Edward Marshall, including some of his Fox series that related the trials and tribulations of Fox in such places as school, on the stage, and babysitting some horrible children. Marshall died on October 13, 1992, in New York.
Biographical Sources: Something About the Author, vols. 6, 51, 75 Children's Literature Review, vol. 21
From the guide to the James Marshall Papers, 1971-1993, (University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections [clrc])
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