Marguerite Henry was born Marguerite Breithaupt in 1902, the youngest of five children. Her father, a successful editor, kindled a love for writing and books in five-year-old Marguerite with his Christmas gift of a writing desk, tablet, and pencils. Marguerite was glad to have these the following year when rheumatic fever confined her to her bed. This confinement continued for six years. Since Marguerite's illness caused her to miss the outdoors and animals, she penned imaginary furry companions to keep herself company throughout this time.
Marguerite sold her first story to a women's magazine when she was only eleven. This was the first of what would be many published pieces for her. In fact, Mrs. Henry published 58 books before her death at the age of 95. Three of these, Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, and Justin Had a Horse, received Newbery Awards.
Marguerite's love for animals, particularly horses, lasted throughout her lifetime and became the subject of her many children's books. Each of these was based upon some real animal and child. Henry conceived of Misty's story when she attended a pony penny day on Assateague Island in 1947. There she met the real Beebe family and the colt Misty. Although Grandpa Beebe was initially apprehensive about selling Misty to Henry, he agreed on the basis that she would write his grandchildren, Paul and Maureen, into her book. This she did with spectacular results! She retained the colt's true parentage and story throughout the piece, making Misty of Chincoteague a work of historical fiction.The Beebe children live, immortal as their pony, between the pages of her book.
Although Henry enjoyed a long and loving marriage to her husband, Sidney Henry, the two were childless. Nevertheless, Mrs. Henry has delighted two generations of children with the wholesome fruit of her fertile imagination.
Other sites of interest:
The Misty of Chincoteague Foundation @ http://www.mistyofchincoteague.org/author.html
Chincoteague Pony Swim
Wild Kingdom views the Chincoteague Roundup