Oct. 15, 1952: Harper & Bros. publishes the children’s novel “Charlotte’s Web,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning essayist and novelist E.B. White (1899-1985), who, with his author and editor wife, Katharine (1892-1977), lived for many years in a farmhouse in the Hancock County town of Brooklin.

Elwyn Brooks White, a New York state native, wrote for six decades for The New Yorker magazine and was a several-time editor and reviser of “The Elements of Style,” a standard writing guide written by William Strunk Jr. in 1918. He also wrote the 1945 children’s classic “Stuart Little.”

A fierce defender of his privacy, White was known to slip out of his office via fire escape when visitors he didn’t know were announced, according to fellow New Yorker writer James Thurber. This behavior contrasted sharply with his wife’s character, according to the Whites’ personal secretary, Isabel Russell.

“EB’s voice was low, his gestures slight, his temper moderate. His presence in any locale was unobtrusive, quiet; K’s was volcanic. If, at any given moment, she was not the focus of attention in a room, she was so violently busy with her individual concerns that she could not be ignored for long,” Russell wrote in her book about the couple.

In the foreword to “Charlotte’s Web,” Kate DiCamillo quotes White as saying, “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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