Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 423
James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier were born into a family of writers. Their father, Edmund Collier, was an author of children's books, and their uncle Slater Brown was a novelist and the hero of E. E. Cummings's The Enormous Room (1922). Their aunt Susan Jenkins Brown authored a biography, and their cousin Gwilym Brown was a long-time Sports Illustrated staff writer. Their ancestors include the colonial diarist Samuel Sewall and the seventeenth-century poet Anne Bradstreet. Their grandmother was courted by nineteenth-century author Henry David Thoreau.
The Colliers work well together, with few conflicts in their writing relationship, because their individual roles in creating books are clearly defined. James develops the story, language, and structure, while Christopher researches the historical era and adds detail. My Brother Sam Is Dead, their first col- laboration, was named a 1975 Newbery Honor Book and an American Library Association Notable Book.
James Lincoln Collier, born in New York City on June 27, 1928, graduated from Hamilton College in 1950. He has contributed more than five hundred articles to such publications as Reader's Digest, the New York Times Magazine, Holiday, and Sports Illustrated. In addition, he is the author of more than two dozen books for children and adults. Rock Star, a novel about a young jazz musician, won the Child Study Association of America's Children's Book Award in 1971. In addition to his writing, Collier has played the trombone professionally and has participated in jam sessions from San Francisco to Leningrad. He founded the Hudson Valley Brass Ensemble, which specializes in Renaissance and Baroque music. Collier served in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1951, worked in publishing from 1952 to 1955, and began his career as a free-lance writer in 1958. He currently lives in New York City and is the father of two sons.
Christopher Collier was born in New York City on January 29, 1930. He received a bachelor's degree from Clark University, and a master's degree and a doctorate from Columbia University. A former junior and senior high school teacher of social studies and English, Collier is now a professor of history at the University of Bridgeport. He specializes in early American history, especially the American Revolution and the history of Connecticut, and in 1971 wrote Roger Sherman's Connecticut: Yankee Politics and the American Revolution, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Collier and his wife now live in Orange, Connecticut, in an old house they have restored. He is the father of two sons and a daughter. Like his brother James, Christopher Collier is by avocation a musician; he plays the trumpet and the flugelhorn.