Born in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, he was a conservationist and author of children's stories. Thornton Waldo Burgess loved the beauty of nature and its living creatures so much that he wrote about them for 50 years. By the time he retired, he had written more than 170 books and 15,000 stories for daily columns in newspapers.
Many of his outdoor observations in nature were used as plots for his stories. In his first book, "Old Mother West Wind", published in 1910, the reader meets many of the characters found in later books and stories. These characters include Peter Rabbit, Jimmy Skunk, Sammy Jay, Bobby Raccoon, Joe Otter, Grandfather Frog, Billy Mink, Jerry Muskrat, Spotty the Turtle and of course, Old Mother West Wind and her Merry Little Breezes.
For the next fifty years, Burgess steadily wrote books that were published around the world in many languages, including Swedish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Gaelic. Collaborating with him was his illustrator and friend, Harrison Cady of New York and Rockport, Massachusetts. Cady gave us the familiar form of Peter Rabbit and other animal characters that we recognize today.
In 1960, Burgess published his last book, "Now I Remember, Autobiography of an Amateur Naturalist", an autobiography depicting memories of his early life in Sandwich, as well as his career highlights. That same year, Burgess at the age of 83, had published his 15,000th story. From 1912 to 1960, without interruption, Burgess wrote a syndicated daily newspaper column titled "Bedtime Stories".