Robert Lawson was born October 4, 1892, in New York City. Between 1911 and 1914 he attended the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. In 1922, after serving in World War I, he married Marie Abrams. Between 1914 and 1930, with the exception of his military service, Lawson worked as a magazine illustrator and commercial artist. After 1930 he shifted his attention to writing and illustrating books for young readers. Lawson died on May 26, 1957.
Lawson made his initial reputation as an illustrator of children's books but went on to write and illustrate sixteen books of his own during the 1940s and 1950s. Lawson was admired for his ability to construct entertaining fables with vivid animal characters. His work won numerous awards, including the Newbery Medal for Rabbit Hill, perhaps his best-known work.