Today, July 28, is the 150th birthday of beloved children's author, Beatrix Potter. Here is a bit about her:
1. She was born Helen Beatrix Potter on July 28, 1866 in Kensington, London, England.
2. Beatrix Potter was a noted writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist.
3. Potter was educated by a series of governesses, and she and her brother, Walter Bertram, were quite isolated from other children. Though they had few friends, they had numerous pets, and vacationed in Scotland and England's Lake District, where she developed a love for flora and fauna, which her parents encouraged.
4. Around age 14, Beatrix started a diary written in a code of her own devising. Her Journal was important to the development of her creativity -- it not only served as a sketchbook, but recorded her impressions of society, art and artists, and recounted stories and observations of daily life.
5. Started in 1881, the journal ends in 1897 when her artistic and intellectual energies were absorbed in scientific study and in efforts to publish her drawings.
6. Beatrix remained friends with her third and last governess, Annie Moore throughout their lives and Annie's eight children were the recipients of many of Potter's delightful picture letters. It was Annie who later suggested that these letters might make good children’s books.
7. Potter was in her 30's when she began writing and illustrating children's books full-time, starting with The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
8. With an inheritance from her aunt and the proceeds from her books, Potter purchased Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, Lake District, in 1905. In subsequent years, she purchased additional farms to preserve the country landscape.
9. She married William Heelis, a respected local solicitor from Hawkshead, in 1913 at the age of 47.
10. Beatrix Potter was not only a celebrated writer and illustrator, she designed spin-off merchandise based on her children's books for British publisher Warne, including: painting books, board games, wall-paper, figurines, baby blankets and china tea-sets. This continued until the duties of land management and diminishing eyesight made it difficult to do so.
11. Potter wrote 24 children's books that include such noted titles as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, and The Tailor of Gloucester.
12. Beatrix Potter died of pneumonia and heart disease on December 22, 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey. She was 77.
13. Potter left nearly all her property to the National Trust, and is credited with preserving much of the land that now constitutes the Lake District National Park.
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