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Thornton N. Wilder (1949 ca.)

Wisconsin Historical Society Image ID: WHi-2655

Thornton Wilder

Novelist and Playwright, April 17, 1897-December 7, 1975

Thornton Nevin Wilder was born in Madison, Wisconsin on April 17, 1897. His father, Amos P. Wilder, brought his family to Madison when he became the owner and editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in 1894. The Wilders were members of the First Congregational Church.

The family lived most of the year in a cottage they called "Wilderness" on the shores of Lake Mendota in what is now Maple Bluff. During the winters they rented apartments in downtown Madison.

The family stayed in Madison until 1906 when Amos Wilder was appointed American consul general to Hong Kong.

Thornton Wilder became a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist (The Bridge of San Luis Rey) and playwright (Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth). He wrote several other novels and plays including The Matchmaker which is the basis for the musical Hello Dolly!

See also:

Historic Madison: Journal of the Four Lake Region, Vol. XIV: 1997, p. 50-57

The Official Thornton Wilder Family Website

The Thornton Wilder Society