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Analysis

Our Town Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Our Town is a play, right? So why didn’t it win a Tony? Well, the Tonys weren’t established until nine years after Our Town was produced. Rest assured, Thornton Wilder received the highest honor possible when he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

In 1927, Wilder was first granted the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Wilder is the only American writer to have won a Pulitzer Prize for a novel AND a work of dramatic literature.

Thornton Niven Wilder grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, but traveled often – including trips to China – because his father was the Consul General to Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Wilder participated in the American services for World War I and World War II. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 after having fought in two wars.1

Wilder attended Oberlin College and Yale University for his B.A., studying the Greek and Roman classics.

Wilder received a Master’s Degree in French literature from Princeton University.

Thornton Wilder was friends with Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and her lover Alice B. Toklas. Stein’s novel The Making of Americans is said to have inspired Our Town.

Wilder performed the role of the Stage Manager in a later production of the original Our Town on Broadway.

Grover’s Corners is based on Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Wilder wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt in 1943.

Wilder had a twin brother who died at birth.

Wilder was not open with his sexuality, but he is generally known to have been homosexual. Samuel M. Steward is thought to have been his significant other.

Wilder’s play The Matchmaker was adapted into the Broadway musical, Hello, Dolly!

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