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She first published an essay "A Winter Walk" at the age of 16 in St. Nicholas Magazine. She attended Radcliffe College, and began publishing poetry, plays and fiction from the 1920s-1940s.
In 1930 her children's book Hitty, Her First Hundred Years (1929) won the Newbery Medal, and in 1936 she was awarded the National Book Award for her novel Time Out Of Mind (1935). In 1945, three years after her death, Prayer For a Child (1944) won the Caldecott Award.
Field died March 15, 1942, at the age of 47, after contracting pneumonia following surgery.