“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.” – Beatrix Potter
Potter, who was born July 28, 1866, wrote, illustrated and self-published her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, in 1901. She said it was just for herself, family and close friends. But those who read and saw it urged her to do more and in 1902 the 3-color edition was published. And the rest is history.
Although the book obviously should have been published for all to see, her editor Norman Warne had a bit of an ulterior motive, since he was wooing Beatrix to become his fiancée, which she did after the book’s broader release. Unfortunately Warne developed leukemia and died before they could wed.
Potter married in her later years and with earnings from her books – she had done 23 by then – she and husband William Heelis purchased a large farm in Lancashire, England where she became a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick sheep and a prosperous farmer keenly interested in land preservation.
Potter died at age 77 in December 1943, willing most of her property to the National Trust. Much of the land comprises the Lake District National Preserve, which includes a replica of Farmer McGregor’s Garden and small statues of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and, of course, Peter. "I have just made stories to please myself," she wrote, "because I never grew up."
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