Hugh John Lofting was a British author, trained as a civil engineer, who created the character of Doctor Dolittle — one of the classics of children's literature.
Lofting was born on January 14, 1886 in Maidenhead, England, to English and Irish parents. His eldest brother was Hilary Lofting, who later became a novelist in Australia (immigrant in 1915).
Hugh Lofting's education was at Mount St. Mary's College in Sheffield. He then went to the United States, where he took classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1905-1906.
He traveled widely as a civil engineer, before enlisting in the Irish Guards to serve in World War I. Not wishing to write to his children of the brutality of the war, he wrote imaginative letters that were the foundation of the successful Doctor Dolittle novels for children. Seriously wounded in the war, he moved with his family to Killingworth, Connecticut in the United States. Lofting was married three times and had three children, one of whom (his son Christopher) is the executor of his literary estate.
Lofting commented, "For years it was a constant source of shock to me to find my writings amongst 'juveniles'. It does not bother me any more now, but I still feel there should be a category of 'seniles' to offset the epithet."
Lofting died on September 26, 1947.
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