Thornton Wilder (1897 – 1975)

Thornton Wilder (April 17, 1897�December 7, 1975) was an American writer.

Born Thornton Niven Wilder in Madison, Wisconsin, he was the son of a U.S. diplomat, spending part of his Childhood in China. After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War I, he earned his B.A. at Yale University in 1920. Six years later, his first novel, The Bridge Of San Luis Rey brought commercial success and his first Pulitzer Prize in 1928. From 1930 to 1937 he taught at the University of Chicago.

Wilder was the author of Our Town, a popular play (and later film) set in fictional Grover's Corner, New Hampshire. Our Town employs a choric narrator called the "Stage Manager," and a minimalist set to underscore the universality of human experience. It won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize.

His play The Skin Of Our Teeth debuted in 1943 with Frederic March and Talullah Bankhead in the lead roles. Again, the themes are familiar--war, pestilence, economic depression, fire. Ignoring the limits of time and space, just four characters and three acts are used to review the history of mankind.

His play The Matchmaker, which was based on Austrian playwright Johann Nestroy's Einen Jux will er sich machen (1842), was turned into the musical Hello, Dolly!.

Wilder authored seven novels, Three Plays, as well as a variety of shorter works including essays, one act plays, and scholarly articles.

His last novel, Theophilus North, was published in 1973. Wilder died in his sleep, December 7, 1975.

Wilder was interred in the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hamden, Connecticut.

Books by Thornton Wilder