Gertrude Chandler Warner was born in Putnam, Connecticut on April 16, 1890. Due to her poor health, she never finished high school and studied with a tutor. During World War I, a shortage of teachers prompted the local school board to hire her to teach first grade, a position she held for over 30 years. She wrote the first Boxcar book in 1924, while home recuperating from an illness, but the version most people are familiar with was originally published in 1942. The Alden children became so popular that she wrote 19 adventures about them including Surprise Island, Mystery Ranch, and Snowbound Mystery. She died at age 89 August 29, 1979, but the Boxcar Children are still being written about by a team of writers faithful to her vision.