Francis Steegmuller was one of the most celebrated and prolific biographers of the past century. Born in New Haven, he spent his undergraduate years at Columbia University. He published his first book during this time, a biography of Ben Jonson that he wrote at the age of nineteen under the pseudonym Byron Steele. His later works would win critical acclaim and awards including two National Book Awards and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal. In addition, he wrote numerous pieces for New Yorker magazine.