Marguerite Henry (April 13, 1902-November 26, 1997) was an American writer. The author of fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals, her work has captivated entire generations of children and young adults and won several Newbery Awards and Honors. Among the more famous of her works was Misty of Chincoteague, which was the basis for the 1961 movie Misty, and several sequel books.
"It is exciting to me that no matter how much machinery replaces the horse, the work it can do is still measured in horsepower ... even in the new age. And although a riding horse often weighs half a ton and a big drafter a full ton, either can be led about by a piece of string if he has been wisely trained. This to me is a constant source of wonder and challenge." This quote was from an article about Henry published in the Washington Post on November 28, 1997, in response to a query about her drive to write about horses.
Marguerite Henry inspired children all over the world with her love of animals, especially horses. Author of over fifty children's stories, including the Misty of Chincoteague series, Henry's love of animals started during her childhood. Unfortunately, Henry was stricken with a rheumatic fever at the age of six, which kept her bedridden until the age of twelve. Born to Louis and Anna Breithaupt, the youngest of the five children, Henry was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Because of her illness, Henry wasn't allowed to go to school with other children because of her weak state and the fear of spreading the illness to others. While she was confined indoors, she discovered the joy of reading. Soon afterwards, she also discovered a love for writing when her father, a publisher, presented her with a writing desk for Christmas. On the top of stacks of colored paper her father wrote, “Dear Last of the Mohicans: Not a penny for your thoughts, but a tablet. Merry Christmas! Pappa Louis XXXX.”
Henry's first published work came at the age of eleven, a short story about a collie and a group of children, which she sold to a magazine for $12. Henry always wrote about animals, such as dogs, cats, birds, foxes, and even mules, but chiefly her stories focused on horses.
In 1923, she married Sidney Crocker Henry. During their sixty-four years of marriage they didn't have children, but instead had many pets that inspired some of Marguerite’s stories. They lived in Wayne, Illinois.
In 1947, she published Misty of Chincoteague and it was an instant success. Later, this book—as well as Justin Morgan had a Horse and Brighty of the Grand Canyon—were made into movies.
She finished her last book, Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley, just before her death on November 26, 1997 at the age of 95.