AA Milne

Alan Alexander Milne was born on January 18, 1882. Growing up in London, Milne attended Henley House, a private school run by his father. By 1893, soon after leaving Henley House, Milne found himself studying at Westminster School and later, in 1903, obtaining a degree in mathematics from Cambridge University.

Often thought of as merely an author of children's novels, Milne was a poet, an essayist, a playwright, and an adult novelist as well. He began his writing career with humorous pieces for Punch magazine. It was in this publication, in 1923, that Winnie-the-Pooh made his first appearance in the poem Teddy Bear. Milne also wrote plays and by the time When We Were Very Young, his first book of poems for children, was published in 1924; he had already made his name as a dramatist and novelist.

In 1913, Milne married Dorothy DeSelincourt, the owner of Punch's goddaughter. Soon after they were married, on February 10, 1915, Milne joined the army as a signaling officer. While in the army, Milne wrote his first play, Wurzel Flummery.

As a married couple, Milne and DeSelincourt were simply comrades. DeSelincourt was described as 'an unattractive portrait of an extravagant social butterfly, glad to get her only child packed off to boarding school and eventually unfaithful to her patient, loving husband'. Together, they believed friendship was the most important part to a marriage. Later, Milne displayed his belief in the importance of friendship in The House at Pooh Corner through Pooh's friendship with Piglet.

E.H. Shepard, born in 1879, became known as the ‘Man who drew Pooh’, but was also an acclaimed artist in his own right. Shepard won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Arts, and later, like Milne, worked for Punch magazine as a cartoonist and an illustrator. Shepard’s illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh and the friends of the Hundred Acre Wood have become classics in their own right and are recognised all over the world.