Thornton Niven Wilder was born April 17, 1897, in Madison, Wisconsin. Arguably one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century, Wilder is the only writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for both literature and drama.
Son of a U.S. diplomat, Wilder spent part of his childhood in China. After serving in the Coast Guard during World War I, he earned his B.A. at Yale University in 1920. Six years later, his first novel, The Cabala was published. In 1927, The Bridge of San Luis Rey brought commercial success and his first Pulitzer Prize. From 1930 to 1937 he taught at the University of Chicago.