James Playsted Wood was born on December 11, 1905, in Brooklyn, New York, to William Thomas and Olive Padbury Hicks Wood. He earned two degrees from Columbia University, a bachelor's in 1927 and a master's in 1933. While working on his master's degree, Wood taught English at DuPont Manual Training High School in Louisville, Kentucky, and continued teaching there until 1937. From 1937 until 1946, he was a member of the English department at Amherst College in Massachusetts, beginning as an instructor and eventually becoming an assistant professor. A member of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, Wood served in the Pentagon office of the chief of staff, General George C. Marshall. He became a major and earned the army commendation medal. During the war, on August 14, 1943, he married Elizabeth Craig, a teacher of Latin, French, and Greek.
In 1946 Wood left both the military and Amherst College to work as assistant to the director of research at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia. He stayed with the Curtis Company until 1962. During this same period, Wood became associated with the children's magazine Jack and Jill, first as a contributor of stories, articles, and poems and later as managing editor (1954-1955) and contributing editor (1959-1964). A full-time writer since 1966, Wood has written extensively about magazines, advertising, and the stock market.
Wood targets much of his writing for young people. For very...
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