Thornton Wilder


Biography of Thornton Wilder

Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth—and a U.S. National Book Award for the novel The Eighth Day.

Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Amos Parker Wilder, a US newspaper editor and diplomat, and Isabella Niven Wilder. All of the Wilder children spent part of their childhood in China because of their father's work.

Thornton Wilder's older brother, Amos Niven Wilder, was Hollis Professor of Divinity at the Harvard Divinity School, a noted poet, and foundational to the development of the field theopoetics. Amos was also a nationally ranked tennis player who competed at the Wimbledon tennis championships in 1922. His sister Isabel Wilder was an accomplished writer. Both of his other sisters, Charlotte Wilder, a poet, and Janet Wilder Dakin, a zoologist, attended Mount Holyoke College. Additionally, Wilder had a twin brother who died at birth.

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