On this day in history : 25th January 1905 – The birth of Margery Sharp – the English author who brought us many novels, including the children’s series ‘The Rescuers’….

Photo portrait by Bill Brandt, 1945 – Public domain

Sharp was born near to Salisbury in Wiltshire, although her family originally came from Yorkshire…. She then spent part of her childhood in Malta before returning to England in 1914 to study at Streatham High School and then Bedford College, part of the University of London…. She then spent a further year at Westminster Art College….

When she was 21 the satirical magazine ‘Punch’ began to publish her short stories…. She went on to write for several other magazines including ‘Good Housekeeping’, ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ and ‘ The Ladies’ Home Journal’…. Her first novel, ‘Rhododendron Pie’, was published in 1930 – after only taking her a month to write….

In 1938 she married Major Geoffrey Castle, an aeronautical engineer – and during WW2 she worked as an Army Education Lecturer…. All the while she continued with her writing – producing in her writing career 25 novels for adults, 14 for children, numerous short stories and 4 plays….

However the work we undoubtedly know her for best is her series of children’s books telling the stories of a socialite mouse by the name of Miss Bianca – who helped people and animals who found themselves in danger…. The first edition of ‘The Rescuers’ was published in 1959…. The books were illustrated by Gareth Williams, who also illustrated other children’s classics such as ‘Stuart Little’ and ‘Charlotte’s Web’….

1st edition – Fair use

In 1977 Walt Disney released the animated film ‘The Rescuers’, based mainly on the second novel of Sharp’s series – it was an outstanding success…. A sequel ‘The Rescuers Down Under’, set in the Australian Outback, was released in 1990….

Original theatrical release poster – Fair use

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