TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Hugh Lofting

Hugh Lofting

Hugh John Lofting (Maidenhead, Berkshire, England January 14, 1886 - Topanga, California September 26, 1947) was a British author, trained as a civil engineer, who created the character of Doctor Dolittle - one of the classics of children's literature.

After serving in World War I, in which he was seriously wounded, he and his family moved to Connecticut in the U.S.A.. He was married three times.

Hugh Lofting's doctor from Puddleby-on-the-Marsh who could speak to animals first saw light in the author's illustrated letters to children, written from the trenches during World War I when actual news, he later said, was either too horrible or too dull. The stories are set in early Victorian England. The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts Never Before Printed (1920) began the series. The sequel The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922) won Lofting the prestigious Newbery Medal. Ten more followed, and after his death two more volumes, composed of short unpublished pieces, appeared. The series has been adapted for film and television many times, for stage twice, and for radio.