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 Garth Montgomery Williams  (1912 - 1996)

About: Garth Montgomery Williams


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Lived/Active: Colorado      Known for: children's book illustration, sculpture

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BIOGRAPHY for Garth Williams
1912 (New York City)
1996 (Mexico)


Often Known For
children's book illustration, sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New York City, Garth Williams was an illustrator of several of the more popular post- World War II children's books:  Stuart Little (1945) and Charlotte's Web (1952) by E.B. White and the Little House on the Prairie (1971) series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  He also illustrated Cricket in Times Square (1960) by George Selden and The Rescuers (1959) by Margery Sharp.  Early in his career, he was a sculptor, whose achievments were officially recognized when he won the British Prix de Rome.

Williams' father was prominent for magazine illustrations for Punch, an English magazine, and when Williams was ten, he moved with his family to England.  He first studied architecture, but turned to sculpture and painting.  To earn a living, he became an educator, serving as headmaster of Luton Art School.

Moving back to the United States, he did illustrations for The New Yorker magazine.   However, the success of Stuart Little prompted his decision to become a full-time children's book illustrator. In addition to illustrating for authors Wilder, White and Sharp, he completed book images for Margaret Wise Brown, Russell Hoban and Randall Jarrell. 

Of his work, it was written: "Generations of children picture their favorite fictional characters as drawn by Garth Williams. Thus the unforgettable daper mouse, Stuart Little, or the kindhearted spider, Charlotte and her pig friend, Wilbur.  And many other animals (bears, dogs, kittens, crickets) fantastic creatures (elves, fairies) and children and grown-ups in books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, George Selden, Charlotte Zolotow, Else H. Minarik and many others.  Garth Williams was also the writer of seven children's books, like Baby Farm Animals, but it is primarily as an illustrator that he will always be remembered. His most controversial book was Rabbit's Wedding, written and illustrated by him in 1958, for it stirred racial issues."

He died in Mexico in 1996.


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