The son of Oliver, an engineer, and his wife Julia, Tunis was born on December 8, 1897, in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Given the advancements of lighting, the family moved from place to place as Oliver installed an engine belted with leather to a generator to create electric lighting. Each job took a year to complete, and then the family changed location. The lack of a constant school environment may have negatively affected Tunis, as he didn't put much effort into his studies. Not finishing at Baltimore City College nor at the Maryland Institute of Art and Design, Tunis nonetheless used the time to improve his artistic ability.
After joining World War I as a pilot and becoming a second lieutenant, Tunis returned to art. He spent several years in advertising illustration and layout before turning to murals which then led to writing. Oars, Sails, and Steam was his first book, and several award-winning books followed depicting early American life, including Frontier Living which earned a Newbery Honor Award in 1962. His illustrations, attention to detail, and candid remarks makes his work appealing to readers curious about their country's past. Tunis passed away on August 7, 1973, in Maryland.
Did you find this review helpful?