The MacDowell Colony 

The Writers

Thornton Wilder

Additional Links:

Books and Writers

Novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin on April 17, 1897. Writing ran in the family. His father Amos was an editor and journalist and his mother Isabella was a poet. The family lived in Madison until 1906 when they moved to Hong Kong when Wilder's father  was appointed American consul general. Wilder attended Oberlin College and Yale University and received his master's degree from Princeton in 1926. During the 1920's, to support himself,  Wilder taught French and English at various schools and wrote scripts for silent films.  He wrote his first novel, The Cabela, in 1926. His second novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928. His other novels include The Ides of March (1948) and The Eighth Day (1967), for which Wilder was awarded the 1968 National Book Award. Other novels include: Woman of Andros (1930); Heaven's My Destination (1935); Theophilus North (1973); The Alcestiad, or A Life In The Sun (1977). 

Wilder was a playwright as well as a novelist. Our Town (1938), a look at small-town American life, brought Wilder the 1938 Pulitzer Prize in drama. The Skin of Our Teeth (1942) won the 1943 Pulitzer Prize in drama. The Matchmaker (1954), one of Wilder's more successful works, evolved into the musical comedy Hello, Dolly.  Other plays include: Angel That Troubled the Waters and other Plays (1928); The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act (1931); Merchant of Yonkers (1939); Childhood (1960); and Infancy (1960).

NH Public Television
MacDowell Home
About the Colony
Classroom Resources
Order the Video

© 2001 New Hampshire PBS