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Ruth Sawyer was born August 5, 1880, in Boston. She studied folklore and storytelling at Columbia University, graduating in 1904. She began the first storytelling program for children at the New York Public Library.

Sawyer spent much of her life traveling through America, Ireland, and Spain, collecting folktales to retell. All her stories were backed up with careful research. She was especially fond of culturally-rich Christmas stories.

She is often referred to as "Ruth Sawyer Durand," or "Lucinda Durand." I'm not sure which is the pen name.

Her son-in-law is acclaimed children's book author Robert McCloskey.

Ruth Sawyer died in 1970.


"I once watched a drab and dirty tinker tell a story about the fairies at a Donegal crossroads. He gathered a crowd in no time. Words became living substance for all who listened. For the duration of the story nothing lived but the story, neither listeners nor storyteller. When it was over, we saw again that the tinker was drab and dirty, ... haggling for trade; and we became ... what we had been before."


(note: there are about 20 others, but they've gone out of print)

Journey Cake, Ho!

Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler's Sons

Roller Skates (1937 Newbery Award)

The Way of the Storyteller

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