Patricia Beatty

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Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Patricia Robbins Beatty was born on August 26, 1922, in Portland, Oregon, to Walter M. and Jesse (nee Miller) Robbins. Her father was an officer in the Coast Guard and his career required his family to move often. As a child, Beatty did a great deal of reading. She seems to have been an introspective child; she was hospitalized for five months when she was ten years old, and during that time she read constantly, which seems to have enhanced her thoughtful nature. Her family returned to Portland in 1935, and Beatty spent her young adult years there, attending both junior high school and high school.

Beatty was not strictly a bookworm in those years. She took up horseback riding, becoming knowledgeable about caring for horses. Horses figure in several of her books. Her love of learning was probably the reason she decided in high school that she wanted to become a teacher. After high school, she attended Reed College, where she received her B.A. in 1944. For a while, her interest in the natural world made her contemplate getting a degree in marine biology, but she eventually earned her degree in literature and history. While at Reed College, she was an athlete, participating in fencing.

She met John Beatty while she was in college. After he left the U.S. Army, they were married on September 14, 1950. He became a history professor in California, and they had a daughter Ann Alexandra. From 1947 to 1950, she was a high school teacher in Coeur d' Alene in Idaho. From 1952 to 1953, she worked for Dupont corporation as a technical librarian, then was a librarian in Riverside, California from 1953 to 1956. She did not return to teaching until the late 1960s, when she began teaching courses on creative writing for UCLA.

According to her own recollection, her work as a librarian was dull, and she took up writing to relieve her boredom. The publication of Indian Canoemaker in 1960 began her career as a writer of books for young people. She had lived among Native Americans for much of her childhood because her father was often stationed on Western reservations. She drew on her knowledge of Native American customs for the book; the book also reveals her characteristic penchant for thorough research into the history and backgrounds of her subjects. With the publication of Bonanza Girl in 1962, Beatty became a full-time writer. In about 1962, she found herself consulting her husband, a professor of history, about details for a book she was working on. This led to their collaboration on At the Seven Stars. He specialized in the history of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, and their several collaborations usually were focused sometime in those eras. Patricia Beatty became very knowledgeable about American history, so when she was not collaborating with her husband, she was writing books about America on her own.

John Beatty died in 1975. Patricia Beatty later married an economics professor, Carl G. Uhr, on July 31, 1977. Beatty remained a very productive writer, with her books published during...

(The entire section is 764 words.)