Tasha Tudor

Tasha Tudor 1915-2008
Tasha Tudor 1915-2008

Time Period

1910-1940

Subject Categories

Arts, Everyday Life, Writers

Notable Facts

Award-winning children's book author and illustrator who lived for 30 years in Marlboro, Vermont. Two of Tudor's books were named Caldecott Honor Books: "Mother Goose" (1944) and "1 Is One" (1956). Expert gardener. Lived much of her life as if she were in the 1800's.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

08/28/1915

Date of Death

06/18/2008

Primary Residence

Marlboro

Historical Significance

Originally from Boston, Tudor lived in Vermont from the early 1970s until her death in 2008. She authored 30 children's books and illustrated nearly 100, from "Pumpkin Moonshine" in 1938 to 2003's "The Corgiville Christmas." She painted detailed watercolors and was particularly known for elaborate, fancy borders. Tudor's illustrations appeared in well-known children's titles like R.L. Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses" and "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Two of Tudor's books were named Caldecott Honor Books: "Mother Goose" (1944) and "1 Is One" (1956). In 1971, Tudor received the Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association for her contributions to children's literature.

Originally born Starling Burgess, Tasha was a nickname given by her father after a character in "War and Peace." Tudor's father was an illustrious shipbuilder also named Starling. Her mother was Rosamund Tudor, who earned money by painting portraits and who went by her maiden name of Tudor, even after her marriage. When Tasha Tudor was seven years old, her parents divorced and she began using her mother's name. At some point, she had her name legally changed and officially became Tasha Tudor.

Besides her writing and illustrations, Tudor was renowned for her fondness for a bygone era. She lived most of her life as though it were the early 1800s. An avid gardener, Tudor raised her own livestock and grew her own crops, including flax that she spun into fabric for handmade dresses.

In 1938, Tasha married Thomas Leighton McCready, Jr. in Redding, Connecticut. The couple moved to Webster, New Hampshire, where they had purchased a 17-room farmhouse on 450 acres that lacked electricity and running water. Here, Tudor raised her four children, daughters Bethany and Efner, and sons Seth and Thomas. Tudor was divorced from McCready in 1961 and later from a second husband, Allan John Woods. But she remained in the New Hampshire farmhouse until the early 1970s, when her son Seth hand-built his mother a home neighboring his own in rural Vermont.

In later years, Tudor was admired as much for her lifestyle and gardening as for her illustrations. The New York Times called her "a 19th century Martha Stewart." In addition to her children's books, she published books on heirloom crafts and gardening, an autobiography, and a cookbook.

Occupations

  • Author
  • Illustrator
  • Gardener

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Tasha Tudor and Family Link

  • Tasha Tudor Memorial Website Link

  • New York Times obituary Link

  • Time Magazine obituary Link

Additional Images

The Tasha Tudor Cookbook, published 1993
The Tasha Tudor Cookbook, published 1993
The Secret Garden, 1962
The Secret Garden, 1962