Pamela Lyndon Travers was born on August 9, 1899, with the name Helen Lyndon Goff. She preferred to be called “PL.”
Her parents had a sugar plantation in Mayborough, Australia. She lived in Ireland and London and America. She worked as a secretary, a newspaper columnist, a dancer, and an actress.
When she was recovering from a serious illness, she wrote Mary Poppins. That was in 1934. She wrote another seven books about the stern British nanny beloved around the world. There was no secret about the fact that she did not like the Disney movie—she felt it wasn’t subtle enough.
Ms. Travers was asked to be writer-in-residence at both Smith and Radcliffe Colleges and Harvard University. In 1977, she was honored with an Order of the British Empire for her contribution to literature. Travers died in London in 1996, at the age of 96.