Wisconsin History Day By Day

Related Web Sites:
The Thornton Wilder Society

Thornton (Niven) Wilder (1897-1975)

Today in History

Read More About It

"The Bridge of San Luis Rey" by Thornton Wilder

"The Collected Short Plays of Thornton Wilder" by Thornton Wilder

"Thornton Wilder" by Thierry Gillyboeuf

"Wilder, Playwright-Novelist, Grew Up Here," Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 31, 1950

"'Just Folks' Describes Wilder," Wisconsin State Journal, Oct. 6, 1940



Interesting Fact:

Thornton's father, Amos Parker Wilder, was the editor and publisher at the Wisconsin State Journal at the turn of the 20th century. Amos was appointed the American Consul General in Hong Kong in 1906.

Study Questions:

  • What is the play "Our Town" about?
  • What is the Pulitzer Prize?
  • How long did Wilder live in Madison?

    U.S. historical events that occurred on April 17:

    1790: Benjamin Franklin dies.
    1961: The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba fails.
    1970: The Apollo 13 astronauts splash down in the Pacific in their crippled spacecraft.

  • April 17

    April 17, 1897: Thornton Wilder, playwright and novelist, was born in Madison. Wilder was catapulted to fame when his novel, "The Bridge of San Luis Rey," won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He received other Pulitzer Prizes for his 1938 play, "Our Town," and the 1942 theatrical work, "The Skin of Our Teeth." Died: December 7, 1975.

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