Alan Alexander Milne, popularly known as A.A. Milne, was born on January 18, 1882. He was an English author well known for his books about a teddy bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. He was principally a dramatist until the enormous popularity of Winnie-the-Pooh eclipsed all of his prior work. Milne fought as a captain in the British Home Guard in World War I and then as a member of the British Army in World War II. His only child, Christopher Robin (who became an author himself), inspired the character of the same name in his father’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Join us in celebrating this literary icon today!
Alan Alexander Milne
January 18, 1882
January 31, 1956 (age 74)
Alan Alexander Milne was born in Hampstead, London on January 18, 1882, to Vince and Sarah Marie Milne. In 1893, he was awarded a scholarship to Westminster School. He then enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he began his writing career.
Milne collaborated with his brother Ken on a student magazine called “Granta,” which he wrote and edited. Milne’s debut work “Lovers in London” was also written in 1905. He subsequently moved on to writing pieces for “Punch,” a British satirical magazine, where he worked as assistant editor. He made his screenwriting debut in 1920, authoring four pieces for Minerva Films: “The Bump,” “Twice Two,” “Five Pound Reward,” and “Bookworms.” He published his first book of children’s poems, “When We Were Very Young,” four years later (1924). Meanwhile, Milne penned a Christmas story for the “Evening News” about a kid and his teddy bear, inspired by his son’s stuffed animals. Winnie-the-Pooh had his first formal appearance in this film. On October 14, 1926, the book was released in London. The second book in the Pooh series, “The House At Pooh Corner,” was published in 1928. In 1952, he published his final work “Year in, Year Out,” which received a lot of positive reviews.
Milne married Dorothy de Sélincourt in 1913. She gave birth to a son named Christopher Robin in 1920. The elder Milne suffered a stroke in October 1952, rendering him unable to work for more than three years before he died on January 31, 1956. Sélincourt sold her share of the rights to the Pooh Books to the Walt Disney Company in 1961. The company then developed a cartoon series based on Milne’s creation.
“Lovers in London,” is published as a series of fictional sketches based on the articles that Milne writes for “The St. James’s Gazette,” a London evening newspaper.
Milne writes four stories for the company Minerva Films: “The Bump”, “Twice Two”, “Five Pound Reward,” and “Bookworms.”
Milne’s first collection of children’s poems “When We Were Very Young” is published in “Punch,” a weekly magazine of humor and satire.
Milne’s two Pooh stories feature a kid named Christopher Robin (named after his son) and a cast of creatures based on his son's stuffed toy animals, most notably Winnie-the-Pooh.
Milne is bestowed the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award posthumously for his book “The World of Pooh.”
The animated character Winnie-the-Pooh earns a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Why We Love AA Milne
He created a masterpiece
Milne developed “Winnie-the-Pooh” as an escape from childhood for both children and adults. The plotlines and illustrations are very simple, allowing readers to find comfort in Christopher, Pooh, and his pals' deep relatability.
He wanted permanence
In his final years, Milne once said that “a writer wants something more than money for his work: he wants permanence.” We think the huge and enduring popularity of his Winnie-the-Pooh books gave him the permanence he wanted.
He was a pacifist
Milne was a pacifist in the years running up to World War I. He described himself as a "practical pacifist" in a letter saying, “I believe that war is a lesser evil than Hitlerism, I believe that Hitlerism must be killed before war can be killed.”
5 Surprising Facts
Two contradictory books
His books “Peace with Honour” (1934) and “War with Honour” (1940) somewhat contradicted each other.
Winnie-the-Pooh actually existed
His son’s teddy bear, Winnie the Pooh, is still on display at the New York Public Library.
He worked for a propaganda unit
When illness prevented him from serving on the front lines, he was recruited in 1916 by MI7b, a secret propaganda unit.
A math graduate
Milne graduated from Trinity College with a B.A. degree in mathematics.
The success of Winnie-the-Pooh
Winnie-the-Pooh is the second most lucrative character in terms of global retail sales, according to Forbes; Mickey Mouse is number one.
AA Milne FAQs
What inspired A.A. Milne to write “Winnie-the-Pooh” for his son?
It was a visit to the London Zoo where his son was fascinated by an amiable bear named Winnipeg.
Did A.A. Milne live in Steeple Bumpstead?
Yes, he lived there with his parents while he was a student at Cambridge University.
Why did A.A. Milne write “Winnie the Pooh”?
Milne wrote “Winnie-the-Pooh” as a way to explain his post-traumatic stress to his six-year-old son.
AA Milne’s birthday dates