Building Cornell University Library’s Collections
E. B. White ’21
The beloved American essayist, author and literary stylist E. B. (Elwyn Brooks) White graduated from Cornell in 1921. His nickname, “Andy,” dates from his years at Cornell. According to Cornell tradition, all male students named White were nicknamed after Cornell’s first president, Andrew Dickson White. While an undergraduate, White served as editor of the Cornell Daily Sun and studied under English Professor William Strunk, Jr. Strunk’s classic 1918 handbook of written American English, The Elements of Style, was required reading for Cornell students. White updated and revised Strunk’s work in 1959.
White began writing for the newly founded New Yorker magazine in 1925, joining the staff in 1927. His essays and articles for the magazine were celebrated and read by a wide audience for six decades. While he is widely admired for his broader contributions to American letters, White is perhaps best loved by generations of young readers, and formerly young readers, for his three children’s books: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952) and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970).
In the early 1960s, Cornell University Library invited E.B. White to deposit his literary and personal papers in the Library’s Department of Rare Books. Mr. White agreed to start a collection and sent Cornell most of his manuscripts and correspondence. Cornell’s E. B. White collection now comprises more than one hundred boxes of letters, manuscripts, photographs, clippings, and other materials documenting every aspect of White’s life and work.
Gift of E. B. White ’21 And Katharine Sergeant White