Esther Forbes

While working on my Kenneth Roberts projects, I read a letter from him to his acquaintance Esther Forbes, another historical novelist.  Although scores of authors have written more books than she, few have received as much widespread recognition.  Among her many awards are a Pulitzer Prize in history for her biography, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In, the Newbery Medal “for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” for Johnny Tremain, and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer novel award for The Running of the Tide.  Several of her books were Book-of-the-Month Club selections.  While working on my Esther Forbes: A Bio-Bibliography of the Author of “Johnny Tremain,” (Scarecrow Press, 1998), I spent two weeks sifting through documents in various libraries and museums in the author’s hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts.  Forbes’s descendants still live in the huge family house in Worcester, and her nephew and his wife graciously invited me to stay there while I went through the file cabinets and bookshelves crammed with letters and papers of their famous ancestor.