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Thornton Niven Wilder was born in Madison Wisconsin on April 17 1897 He was the son of Amos Parker Wilder and Isabella Niven Wilder His twin brother died at birth Wilder grew up with an older brother Amos and three younger sisters Charlotte Isabel and Janet Throughout his life he became a newspaper editor diplomat and a Calvinist In 1906 his family moved to Hong Kong where his father had been appointed American Consul General After six months his mother returned with the children to the US but his family rejoined again in 1911 in Shanghai Wilder stayed in China for a year In 1915 he enrolled in Oberlin College where he studied the Greek and Roman classics in translation In 1917 his family moved to New Haven Connecticut and Wilder entered Yale University His first full length play The Trumpet Shall Sound appeared in 1920 in the Yale Literary Magazine but it wasnt produced until 1926 During World War I he served for eight months in the Coast Artillery Corps as a corporal In 1920 he received his BA from Yale University after that went to Rome where he studied archaeology at the American Academy While teaching French in New Jersey Wilder continued to write By 1926 he had received an MA degree in French literature from Princeton University In the same year appeared his first novel The Cabala and the American Laboratory Theater produced The Trumpet Shall Sound His second novel was released in 1927 and next year he gave up his position as teaching French From 1930 to 1937 he was a part time lecturer in comparative literature at the University of Chicago in 1935 he was a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii Honolulu and in 1950-51 a professor of poetry at Harvard University During World War II Wilder enlisted in the army He became a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force and
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