Elizabeth Coatsworth

American, 1893 - 1986

Elizabeth Coatsworth was born in Buffalo, New York on May 31, 1893, but she lived in Massachusetts and Maine for most of her life. At the young age of 5, she lived both in the Alps and the Egyptian deserts. Coatsworth authored more than one hundred books. While it is the stories she wrote for children that have gathered the most attention and are best remembered today, she also wrote adult fiction and poetry, as well as memoirs. There is a common thread running through all of Coatsworth’s writing though, and that is the reverence she had for her home state of Maine. She began her career publishing her poetry in magazines. Her first book was a poetry collection for adults, Fox Footprints, in 1912. Coatsworth graduated from Vassar College in 1915 as Salutatorian. In 1916, she received a Master of Arts from Columbia University. In 1929, Elizabeth was married to the author of The Outermost House, Henry Beston, and with him had a daughter, Kate Barnes. After the marriage, the couple divided their time between an old house overlooking the harbor of Hingham, Massachusetts, and “Chimney Farm” located in Maine. Elizabeth was very accomplished in the area of literature and writing. Not only did she write poetry, but was also a novelist and an author of children’s stories, winning the Newbury Medal in 1931 for The Cat Who Went to Heaven.