A A Milne (1882 – 1956)

 A A Milne photo

A A Milne.

Born Alan Alexander Milne January 18th, 1882 in Kilburn, London, Milne is best known and remembered for his books about Winnie-the-Pooh. He was wrote many novels, non-fiction books, plays and poetry collections for adults.

Milne’s father was a teacher and ran a small public school. One of Milne’s teachers at the school in 1889-90 was H.G. Wells. He studied mathematics at Trinity College in Cambridge, and also wrote for the student magazine Granta there.

After graduating Cambridge in 1903 Milne contributed to Punch magazine, joining the staff in 1906.

Serving in both World Wars for the British he wrote two books about war - the first one denouncing it Peace with Honor (1934) and the second a kind of retraction of the denunciation - War with Honour 1940)

By the early 1920s Milne had published 18 plays and 3 novels, including The Red House Mystery (1922).

Milne and his wife Dorothy had a son named Christopher Robin in 1920.

In February 1924 Winnie the Pooh made his debut in a poem called "Teddy Bear,” published in Punch magazine. The poem was included in a collection of children’s poems ‘When We Were Very Young’ which were illustrated by E.H. Shepard, who also worked at Punch, published later in 1924.

In 1925 a collection of short stories, Gallery of Children, was published, including some stories that became part of the Winnie-the-Pooh books.

The Pooh books were Inspired by Milne's son Christopher Robin and his stuffed animals. The name Winnie came from black bear named Winnipeg, who was a military mascot during World War I and later a resident of the London Zoo. The name Pooh may have been added to 'Winnie' because the original bear smelled bad.

“Winnie-The-Pooh” the book was published in 1926, followed by “The House at Pooh Corner” (1928), and a second collection of nursery rhymes, “Now We Are Six” (1927). Together with “When We Were Very Young” the four books make up the full Winnie-The-Pooh set, and all the books Milne would right about the bear.

Milne did not relish the success of Winnie-The-Pooh - in fact, he stopped writing for children after the books became successful, and resented the fame his son was exposed to. Milne later became estranged from him son, who believed his father exploited his childhood at his expense.

In 1930 an American literary agent Stephen Slesinger bought the US and Canadian merchandising and television rights to Pooh for $1,000 advance and 2/3 of subsequent earning. In 1961 Disney acquired those rights, with 2% of worldwide revenues going to Slesinger’s widow Shirley, who later sued in 1991 saying they owed her over 100 million.

The real Christopher Robin’s toys that inspired the stories are on display at the New York Public Library.

Milne retired to his country home Cotchford Farm, after a store and brain surgery left him an invalid in 1952. 30 Cotchford was later bought by Rolling Stone guitarist Brian Jones who died there in a swimming pool in 1969.

Winnie the Pooh is the second most valuable character after Mickey Mouse.
 A A Milne signature

Books by A A Milne