Author avatar
Jane Thayer

Catherine Woolley (born 1904, in Chicago, IL; died July 23, 2005, in Truro, MA) wrote 86 books for children, many of which have become classics. She was so prolific that her editor suggested she publish some of her works under a pen name. Thus, Catherine authored picture books under the name of Jane Thayer, while writing books for older children and adults under her real name.

A 1927 graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, she worked as an advertising copywriter and freelance writer in New York City during the late 1920s and early 1930s. From 1933 to 1940, she worked as a copywriter in publicity for the American Radiator & Standard Corporation. She found a job as a desk editor for the Architectural Record and as a production editor for the Society of Automotive Engineers Journal in the early 1940s. By the time Woolley had advanced to the position of public relations writer for the National Association of Manufacturers in New York City, she had also begun writing and publishing children’s books. Her debut, I Like Trains, appeared in 1944.

She left her public relations job in 1947 to concentrate full time on writing, though she occasionally taught classes and led writing workshops. Her many books written under her own name include the “Ginny” and “Cathy” series. As Thayer, she wrote such books as Sandy and the Seventeen Balloons (1955), Quiet on Account of Dinosaur (1964), and Mr. Turtle’s Magic Glasses (1971). Her last book for children, The Popcorn Dragon, came out in 1989. That year she also published her one book for adults, Writing for Children.

Her hometown, the seaside village of Truro, MA, honored her in 1996 by naming its children’s reading room after her.

Take a look at this interesting article about Catherine Woolley and her books from the Provincetown, MA, Banner.