Elizabeth George Speare
This image was included in both the Children's Literature Review Volume 8 and Something About the Author Volume 62, courtesy of Elizabeth George Speare.

Elizabeth George Speare

1908 - 1994

Born and raised in Melrose, Massachusetts, Elizabeth George Speare (1908-1994) earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Boston University, taught high school, married, and raised two children before beginning her career as a writer.

Garnering prizes and critical acclaim from the outset, Speare's work represents some of the finest historical fiction written for children and young adults. Her novels are particularly noted for the depth of their characters, authentic New England settings, intriguing plots, and accurate historical details.

In 1957 her first novel, Calico Captive, was an American Library Association Notable book. Published a year later, her second novel, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, was awarded the Newbery Medal, given annually to the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. A second Newbery Medal was awarded Speare in 1961 for The Bronze Bow, her only book set outside of New England. Though twenty years elapsed before she wrote her next novel of historical fiction for children, she again received Newbery recognition when The Sign of the Beaver was named a Newbery Honor Book.

In 1989 Speare received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in recognition of her fine body of work, which sets the standard for historical fiction for young people.

From the dust jacket of The Bronze Bow (1997 reprint)
Other Titles

Elizabeth George Speare also wrote a 28 page pamphlet called "Child Life in New England, 1792-1840". Amazon description gives this info as to content: "All about the freedoms and restrictions granted to children from early Puritan times to the Victorian era. Once Puritan views were no longer the norm, children were finally allowed to be children in their early years, one example being that children finally had clothing designed for them instead of wearing replicas of their parents' outfits."  This was part of the Old Sturbridge Village booklet series published in 1961.

Child Life in New England by Speare