Natalie S. Bober is an award-winning biographer and historian with a strong background in the humanities and eighteenth century British and American History. "Biography is the human heart of history," Bober tells us. Thus her biographies describe the milieu from which her subjects sprang, and show how their accomplishments were an outgrowth of the lives they lived. As she paints a portrait of her subject against the canvas of history, her biographies become a prism of history.
"Writing biography is an exciting adventure," Bober says. "I never know where my research will lead me. The excitement comes from the search and discovery, from recreating a life from details."
Bober's titles have appeal across a wide spectrum of ages, and have garnered starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Voice of Youth Advocates, among others. They have been acclaimed in The New York Times Book Review as among the best of their genre being written today. Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution was chosen as the winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction, as well as the Golden Kite Award of the SCBWI. Her biography of Thomas Jefferson caught the eye of Ken Burns and, as a result, she served as a consultant for his PBS television documentary: "Thomas Jefferson" and appeared as a historian ("talking head") throughout the program.
Natalie Bober holds degrees in English and reading, has taught and conducted workshops for teachers as well as young people on the art and craft of biography and the joy and excitement of research. She has been a guest lecturer at numerous colleges and universities, and has frequently been a featured speaker at the annual lecture series on the Adams family at the Adams National Historic Site among other venues. She resides with her husband in New York City and derives great pleasure from her children and grandchildren, who happily serve as critics of her works.
A Note from Natalie Bober
I stumbled into the role of biographer quite by accident.
Early in the spring of 1972, I developed a problem that ultimately kept me off my feet for six months. It was then that I chanced upon an article in Writer Magazine about writing biographies for teenagers. I had always wanted to write, but I had never had the nerve to try. I was shy and introverted as a child, and I never thought I could.
Now, following the step-by-step suggestions in the article, I produced William Wordsworth: The Wandering Poet. When it was named to the Child Study Association List "Best Books of the Year 1975," I was off and running, figuratively and literally!
Since then, writing lives has been an exciting adventure. I never know where my research will lead me. It has taken my husband and me to many parts of the world, and has introduced us to some remarkable people. As a result of the Ken Burns Documentary on Thomas Jefferson, we were invited to the White House by President and Mrs. William J. Clinton.
As I reflect on the many years that my career as a writer has spanned, and search for the greatest influence on that career, it immediately becomes apparent that it was my mother who deserves much of the credit. The hours she sat with me as a child, in spite of a successful career of her own, patiently teaching me to do the same kind of careful, meticulous research and writing that she did in her profession, have been the cornerstone on which my life as a biographer has been founded.
She set a wonderful example, and passed on to me a legacy of research and writing that has now been passed down to my children, grand children, and and great-grandchildren. In fact, two of my granddaughters have worked closely with me, giving me the benefit of their perspectives. One has contributed significantly to my research; the other created an extraordinary website for me. And it was my son who, while reading the manuscript of my first biography of Thomas Jefferson, recognized before I did that I was falling in love with Abigail Adams, and encouraged me to tell her story.
Yet when I graduated from college in 1951, I had no sense at all of where I would be today. Over the years, in addition to writing, I have taught, edited, conducted workshops, and lectured. But what provided me with the most happiness, were the ten years that my daughter and I owned and operated a children's book store.
Indeed, my love affair with books began with my first summer job - at age 16 - just after I had graduated from Hunter College High School - working in the stacks at the main branch of the New York Public Library. How I loved the smell and the feel of the old books! From then on, I was certain that books would always be a thread that was tightly woven into the fabric of my life. Little did I know then that I would one day be writing books that would have a special niche on those shelves!