Thursday, January 1, 2009

Author Review: Walter Franklin Buehr

Walter Buehr (May 14, 1897 - January 2, 1971) was born in Chicago on May 14, 1897. After high school he attended several different art schools including the Art Students League of New York (where he later taught), the Detroit School of Design, the Philadelphia School of Industrial Arts, the Art Students League, and he also studied art in Europe.

He began a first sergeant in the first camouflage section of the U.S. Army Engineers during WWI and was awarded the active service medal.

He married Camilla Goodwyn, a portrait artist and fashion illustrator, in 1938. The two had three daughters, and at least five grandchildren. Two of his grandchildren lived in France & couldn’t speak English, which made it very hard on a grandfather who spoke very little French!

Buehr had varied talents and interests. He designed furniture, was interested in ceramics, like to tinker with high fidelity systems, and loved sailing. He even lived on his boat during the summers and cruised both the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean. This hobby led to the writing of his first book - Ships and Life Afloat. He wanted children in the Midwest to be able to understand the terms used in stories about the sea, how the ships were rigged, how they operated, what the life of a sailor was like, etc.

His over fifty-six books, including four for adults, reflect his wide variety of interests, including sailing and the sea, medieval history, exploration, transportation, electricity, and more. His history books dealt with romantic eras full of knights, castles, galleys, and galleons. My copies were all published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons. His children’s books are short (less than 100 pages) with large print and lots of illustrations, making them easy on young eyes.

Our favorites have been the volumes about the medieval times: Chivalry and the Mailed Knight, The Crusades, Knights and Castles and Feudal Life, and Heraldry: The Story of Armorial Bearing. Heraldry was my personal favorite. Others that were very helpful in our study of US history were French Explorers in America & The Spanish Conquistadores in North America. My girls also enjoyed the Bread book. Like many of his books it followed the history of a common, everyday item and made it very interesting!

List of titles by Walter Buehr:

1812: The War and the World, 1967 - TruthQuest
Automobiles, Past and Present, 1968
Birth of a Liner, 1961
Bread, the Staff of Life, 1959
Cargoes in the Sky, 1958
Chivalry and the Mailed Knight, 1963 - TruthQuest
Cloth, from Fiber to Fabric, 1965
The Crusades, 1959 - TruthQuest
Famous Small Boat Voyages, 1967
Firearms, 1967
First Book of Machines, 1962
Food, From Farm to Home, 1970
Freight Trains of the Sky, 1969
French Explorers in America, 1961 - TruthQuest
Galleys and Galleons, 1964 - TruthQuest
Genie and the Word: Electricity and Communication, 1959
Harbors and Cargoes, 1955
Harvest of the Sea, 1955 - TruthQuest
Heraldry: The Story of Armorial Bearing, 1964 - TruthQuest
Home Sweet Home in the Nineteenth Century, 1965
Keeping Time, 1960
Knights and Castles and Feudal Life, 1957 - TruthQuest
Magic of Paper, 1966
Marvel of Glass, 1963
Meat, From Ranch to Table, 1956
Oil, Today’s Black Magic, 1957
Plastics, The Man-made Miracle, 1967
The Portuguese Explorers, 1966 - TruthQuest
Railroads, Today and Yesterday, 1958
Rubber, Natural and Synthetic, 1964
Salt, Sugar, and Spice, 1969
Sea Monsters, 1966
Sending the Word, The Story of Communication, 1959
Ships and Life Afloat: From Galley to Turbine, 1953
Ships of the Great Lakes, 1956
The Spanish Armada, 1962 - TruthQuest
The Spanish Conquistadores in North America, 1962 - TruthQuest
Storm Warning, 1972
The Story of Locks, 1953
Story of the Wheel, 1960
Strange Craft, 1963
Through the Locks: Canals Today and Yesterday, 1954
Timber! Farming Our Forests, 1960
Treasure: The Story of Money and Its Safeguarding, 1955
Trucks and Trucking, 1957
Underground Riches, The Story of Mining, 1958
The Viking Explorers, 1968 - TruthQuest
Volcano!, 1962
Warriors Weapons (adult), 1963
Water, Our Vital Need, 1967
Westward with American Explorers, 1963 - TruthQuest
When Towns Had Walls, Life in a Medieval English Town, 1970
Wonder Worker, The Story of Electricity, 1961
World Beneath the Waves, 1964
The World of Marco Polo, 1961 - TruthQuest
Books Illustrated by Walter Buehr:
Adventures on the Cloud 9, by Adelaide Field
The First Book of the Ocean, by Sam & Beryl Epstein
Mary, Queen of Scots, by Emily Hahn (Landmark series) - TruthQuest
Moon Base, by William Nephew
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