Best-selling writer and environmentalist Cleveland Amory (1917–1998) was born on this day in Nahant, Massachusetts. As a child, he read the classic novel Black Beauty and became a passionate animal rights champion.
"Animals have been special to me for as long as I can remember," he said.
A young editor at The Saturday Evening Post, he served in World War II's Army Intelligence and once said: "There are three terrible ages of childhood - 1 to 10, 10 to 20, and 20 to 30."
As the senior contributing editor of Parade magazine and popular commentator for the Today show, Amory was best known for three delightful and heartwarming cat stories: The Cat Who Came for Christmas (1987), The Cat and the Curmudgeon (1990), and The Best Cat Ever (1993). A must for feline lovers, the books celebrated the adventures of Polar Bear, the stray alley cat Amory rescued on Christmas Eve 1977.
"Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression," he observed.
A tireless worker on behalf of animals, Amory was the co-founder of the U.S. Humane Society and founder/president of the Fund for Animals. He said: "The facts of life are very stubborn things."
He fulfilled his lifelong dream with Black Beauty Ranch in East Texas, a 1,620-acre sanctuary for endangered and abused creatures, where animals could end their days "proud and free." He is buried there, next to his beloved cat, Polar Bear.
Genius is eternal patience.