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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Gray, Elizabeth Janet

 

Elizabeth Gray Vining Adam of the Road
Beppy Marlowe of Charles Town Penn

Elizabeth Gray Vining was born October 6, 1902, in Philadelphia. She published her first article in Young Churchman when she was seventeen. Vining graduated from Bryn Mawr College. In 1926, she graduated from Drexel University with a degree in library science. She wrote Adam of the Road under the name Elizabeth Janet Gray, and it received the Newbery Medal in 1944. Other titles for children written by Ms. Gray includeMeredith’s Ann, Tilly-Tod, Tangle Garden, Beppy Marlowe of Charles Town, Contributions of the Quakers, Young Walter Scott, The Fair Adventure, Penn, and Sandy.

As an adult, Ms. Vining became a Quaker and, while she was working for the American Friends Service Committee, Emperor Showa of Japan hired her to tutor his son, Prince Akihito, from 1946 to 1950. Although she left Japan when Akihito graduated from junior high, they maintained a lifelong correspondence and she was the only foreign guest at his wedding. She wrote two books about her experiences in Japan: Windows for the Crown Prince (a bestseller) and Return to Japan. It was Vining’s influence that led to the decision of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to raise their children by themselves, breaking with Imperial tradition and placing emphasis on respect toward others, regardless of family status. She wrote more than sixty books for children and adults, including biographies, historical novels, and contemporary fiction. She died at the age of 97 in 1999.

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