Jean Fritz Biography

Jean Fritz Biography

Jean Fritz brings history to life. No other author has made such an enormous impact on children’s historical literature. By her own admission, she knew her career path at the age of five, yet her writing did not really take off until she was in her mid-thirties. Since then, Fritz has authored books about virtually every American historical subject imaginable. Her writing process is one of careful research and rewriting, and she eschews the label “historical fiction” due to the careful construction of her books. Whether recounting the treachery of Benedict Arnold or the nobility of President James Madison, Fritz captures the essence of the period and makes historical figures memorable for her young readers.

Facts and Trivia

  • Fritz spent the first thirteen years of her life growing up in China. She credits her solitary life there with her love for reading and writing.
  • Though she mostly writes historical works, early in her career Fritz experimented with fantasy works. She has also written a memoir about her childhood, titled Homesick: My Own Story.
  • Because of the historical nature of her books, Fritz spends nearly a year researching and writing each one, often visiting the locations that will appear in her stories.
  • History is not just a creative passion of Fritz’s: it’s also a personal one. Her ancestors once dined with President Washington.
  • Though Fritz is fluent in Chinese, she cannot write it.

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jean Guttery Fritz, the only child of American missionaries, was born on November 16, 1915, in Hankow, China. The family lived in China until the mid- 1920s, when revolution made it too dangerous for foreigners to remain. Fritz kept a childhood journal in which she copied her favorite passages from books and poems and recorded her thoughts about life in China. This journal became an important source for Homesick, the autobiographical story of her years in China.

Fritz decided early in life to pursue a writing career. She studied English literature at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. After graduation, hoping to find an outlet for her writing skills, she enrolled in an advertising course at Columbia University in New York City. But she disliked the advertising business because it seemed dishonest, and in 1939 she went to work for the Silver Burdett Company, textbook publishers.

Her career in publishing ended in 1941, when she married Michael Fritz and moved with him to San Francisco, where he had been recalled to military service after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. She gave birth to a son in 1943 and a daughter in 1947, wrote book reviews and teacher's manuals, and served as a ghostwriter. In 1953 the family moved to Dobbs Ferry, New York, and Fritz volunteered to work in the public library. She established a children's department and traded her volunteer job for a paid library position.

In the mid-1950s Fritz...

(The entire section is 485 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jean Guttery was born in Hankow, China, on November 16,1915. Her parents Arthur and Myrtle Guttery were missionaries for the YMCA. She and her family left China around 1928 to escape the warfare that swept through China as part of the aftermath of the revolution that removed the old monarchy and replaced it with a fragile civilian government. While in China, Jean Guttery kept a notebook of her thoughts and observations that later served as a basis for writing about China. Jean Guttery's writings about her own life reveal nostalgia for China.

After she graduated from Wheaton College in 1937, Guttery took a job with an advertising agency in New York but left it to work for a textbook publisher, Silver Burdett Company. She married Michael Fritz on November 1,1941, just in time for him to be called to military service and sent to San Francisco, after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, marking the U.S. entrance into World War II. Eventually, in 1953, she and her husband and two children (a son and a daughter) moved to Dobbs Ferry in New York. There, she found a job as a librarian, creating a children's literature section.

During the 1960s, Jean Guttery Fritz researched the history of the American Revolution, which resulted in a work intended for grownups but suitable for teenagers, Cast for a Revolution (1972), and several works for young readers, such as Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? (1976), that have gone through many printings,...

(The entire section is 433 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jean Guttery was born in Hankow, China, on November 16, 1915. Her parents, Arthur and Myrtle Guttery, were missionaries for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). Around 1928, she and her family left China to escape the warfare that swept through country in the aftermath of the revolution that removed the old monarchy and replaced it with a fragile civilian government. While in China, she kept a notebook of her thoughts and observations that later served as a basis for writing about China. Guttery's writings about her own life reveal a nostalgia for China.

After she graduated from Wheaton College in 1937, she took a job with an advertising agency in New York, but left it to work for a textbook publisher, Silver Burdett Company. She married Michael Fritz on November 1, 1941, just in time for him to be called to military service and sent to San Francisco, after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, marking America's entrance into World War II. In 1953, she and her husband and their son and a daughter moved to Dobbs Ferry in New York. There, she found a job as a librarian, creating a children's literature section.

During the 1960s, Fritz researched the history of the American Revolution, resulting in a work intended for grownups but suitable for teenagers, Cast for a Revolution (1972), and several works for young readers such as Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? (1976) that have gone through many reprints, including one in 1999....

(The entire section is 432 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jean Guttery was born in Hankow, China, on November 16, 1915. Her parents, Arthur and Myrtle Guttery, were missionaries for the Young Men's Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.). Around 1928, she and her family left China to escape the warfare following the revolution that removed the old monarchy and replaced it with a fragile civilian government. While in China, Jean kept a notebook of her thoughts and observations that later served as a basis for writing about China, writings that reveal a nostalgia for China.

After she graduated from Wheaton College in 1937, Jean took a job with an advertising agency in New York, but left to work for a textbook publisher, Silver Burdett Company. She married Michael Fritz on November 1, 1941. Soon after, he was called to military service and sent to San Francisco after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and America entered into World War II. Jean, her husband, and their two children moved to Dobbs Ferry, New York, in 1953. There, she found a job as a librarian and created a children's literature section.

During the 1960s, she researched the history of the American Revolution and wrote a book intended for adults but suitable for teenagers, Cast for a Revolution, and several works for young readers such as Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? Although she has written distinguished fiction, Fritz is plainly drawn to biography, particularly lives presented in the context of the history of their times. In 1986, she...

(The entire section is 371 words.)