Friday, May 9, 2008

May 09: Birth of Barrie

On this day in 1860, Scottish novelist and dramatist James Matthew Barrie, more commonly known as J. M. Barrie, was born in Kirriemuir, Angus (one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland) to a conservative Scottish family.

Barrie is best remembered for creating Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, whom he based on his friends, the Llewelyn Davies boys. Barrie became acquainted with the Llewelyn Davies family in 1897, meeting George, Jack, and baby Peter with their nurse/nanny Mary Hodgson in London's Kensington Gardens. Barrie lived nearby and often walked his dog in the park, and entertained the boys with his stories.

Barrie is also credited with popularizing the name "Wendy", which was uncommon for girls in both Britain and America at that time.

The first appearance of Peter Pan came in The Little White Bird, which was serialized in the U.S., then published in a single volume in the UK in 1901. Barrie's most famous and enduring work, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, had its first stage performance on December 27, 1904. It has been performed innumerable times since then, and was later developed by Barrie into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy. In 1929 Barrie specified that the copyright of the Peter Pan works should go to the nation's leading children's hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, England.

"Always be a little kinder than necessary.” -J.M. Barrie

Click HERE for more May 9 Disney history.

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