Biography and History

Thornton Wilder, the noted American novelist and playwright, was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of a U.S. diplomat. Wilder served briefly in the Coast Artillery Corps during World War I. Following the war, Wilder attended Yale University, graduating in 1920. In 1926, Wilder received his M.A. in French from Princeton University and subsequently taught at the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Wilder left the Lawrenceville School in 1928, the same year that he received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey. After leaving Lawrenceville, Wilder taught at the University of Chicago (1930-1937) and published Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1942). Wilder enlisted in the army at the outset of World War II, and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army Air Force. After his discharge from the army, Wilder continued to write and teach.

Source: From the finding aid for C0622