John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr., Nobel Prize in Literature 1962 (1902 - 1968) MP

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Birthplace: Salinas Valley, Monterey County, California, United States
Death: Died in New York, NY, United States
Cause of death: Heart disease & congestive heart failure
Occupation: Author
Managed by: Nancy Sawalich
Last Updated:

About John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr., Nobel Prize in Literature 1962

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:

"...John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr.(February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). He wrote a total of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories. In 1962, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature..."

"...John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. He was of German and Irish descent. Johann Adolf Großsteinbeck, Steinbeck's paternal grandfather, had shortened the family name to Steinbeck when he immigrated to the United States. The family farm in Heiligenhaus, Germany, is still today named "Großsteinbeck"..."

"...His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, served as Monterey County treasurer. John's mother, Olive Hamilton, a former school teacher, shared Steinbeck's passion of reading and writing..."

"...he returned to California and worked for a time in 1928 as a tour guide and caretaker at the fish hatchery in Tahoe City, where he would meet tourist Carol Henning, his future first wife. Steinbeck and Henning were married in January 1930..."

"...Steinbeck began to write a series of "California novels" and Dust Bowl fiction, set among common people during the Great Depression. These included In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath..."

"...In 1942, Steinbeck's divorce from Carol became final and later that month he married Gwyndolyn "Gwyn" Conger. With his second wife Steinbeck had his only children–Thomas ("Thom") Myles Steinbeck born 1944 and John Steinbeck IV (1946–1991)..."

"...In June, 1949, Steinbeck met stage-manager Elaine Scott at a restaurant in Carmel, California. Steinbeck and Scott eventually began a relationship and in December, 1950, Steinbeck and Scott married, within a week of the finalizing of Scott's own divorce from actor Zachary Scott. This third marriage for Steinbeck lasted until Steinbeck's death in 1968..."

"...In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.” ..."

"...John Steinbeck died in New York City on December 20, 1968 of heart disease and congestive heart failure..."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'John Steinbeck', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 April 2011, 14:12 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Steinbeck&oldid=426386287> [accessed 28 April 2011]

Biographical Note:

Steinbeck was a Freemason and was a member of the Salinas Lodge No. 204.

SOURCE: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/biography/steinbeck_j/steinbeck_j.html

Research Information:

"The Nobel Prize in Literature 1962". Nobelprize.org. 29 Apr 2011 http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1962/

The National Steinbeck Center Museum dedicated to the author and his writings. -------------------- John Steinbeck III (February 27, 1902—December 20, 1968) was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories. In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley region of California, a culturally diverse place of rich migratory and immigrant history. This upbringing imparted a regionalistic flavor to his writing, giving many of his works a distinct sense of place.[2][3] Steinbeck moved briefly to New York City, but soon returned home to California to begin his career as a writer. Most of his earlier work dealt with subjects familiar to him from his formative years. An exception was his first novel Cup of Gold which concerns the pirate Henry Morgan, whose adventures had captured Steinbeck's imagination as a child.

In his subsequent novels, Steinbeck found a more authentic voice by drawing upon direct memories of his life in California. Later he used real historical conditions and events in the first half of 20th century America, which he had experienced first-hand as a reporter. Steinbeck often populated his stories with struggling characters; his works examined the lives of the working class and migrant workers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. His later body of work reflected his wide range of interests, including marine biology, politics, religion, history, and mythology. One of his last published works was Travels with Charley, a travelogue of a road trip he took in 1960 to rediscover America. He died in 1968 in New York of a heart attack and his ashes are interred in Salinas.

Seventeen of his works, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Cannery Row (1945), The Pearl (1947), and East of Eden (1952), went on to become Hollywood films (some appeared multiple times, i.e., as remakes), and Steinbeck also achieved success as a Hollywood writer, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Story in 1944 for Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat. -------------------- John Steinbeck III (February 27, 1902—December 20, 1968) was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories. In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley region of California, a culturally diverse place of rich migratory and immigrant history. This upbringing imparted a regionalistic flavor to his writing, giving many of his works a distinct sense of place.[2][3] Steinbeck moved briefly to New York City, but soon returned home to California to begin his career as a writer. Most of his earlier work dealt with subjects familiar to him from his formative years. An exception was his first novel Cup of Gold which concerns the pirate Henry Morgan, whose adventures had captured Steinbeck's imagination as a child.

In his subsequent novels, Steinbeck found a more authentic voice by drawing upon direct memories of his life in California. Later he used real historical conditions and events in the first half of 20th century America, which he had experienced first-hand as a reporter. Steinbeck often populated his stories with struggling characters; his works examined the lives of the working class and migrant workers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. His later body of work reflected his wide range of interests, including marine biology, politics, religion, history, and mythology. One of his last published works was Travels with Charley, a travelogue of a road trip he took in 1960 to rediscover America. He died in 1968 in New York of a heart attack and his ashes are interred in Salinas.

Seventeen of his works, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Cannery Row (1945), The Pearl (1947), and East of Eden (1952), went on to become Hollywood films (some appeared multiple times, i.e., as remakes), and Steinbeck also achieved success as a Hollywood writer, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Story in 1944 for Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat. -------------------- John Ernst Steinbeck (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was William Philo Hibbard's 5th Cousin, 3 times removed, and was one of the best-known and most widely read American writers of the 20th century.[citation needed] A winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, he wrote Of Mice and Men (1937) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1940), both of which examine the lives of the working class and migrant workers during the Great Depression. Steinbeck populated his stories with struggling characters and is often considered an exponent of the naturalist school.[citation needed] His characters and his stories drew on real historical conditions and events in the first half of the 20th century. His body of work reflects his wide range of interests, including marine biology, jazz, politics, philosophy, history, and myth.

Seventeen of his works, including Cannery Row (1945), The Pearl (1947), and East of Eden (1955), went on to become Hollywood films, and Steinbeck also achieved success as a Hollywood writer, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Story in 1944 for Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.

He was known by many as a regionalist, mystic, and proletarian writer. He was also respected for his empathy for the migrant workers of the time.

John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, of German American and Irish American descent. Johann Adolph Grossteinbeck, Steinbeck's grandfather, changed the family name from Grossteinbeck to Steinbeck when he migrated to the United States. His father, John Steinbeck, Sr., served as the County Treasurer while his mother, Olive (Hamilton) Steinbeck, a former school teacher, fostered Steinbeck's love of reading and writing. During summers he worked as a hired hand on nearby ranches.

He attended Stanford University intermittently until 1925, when he departed without graduating in order to pursue his dream as a writer.

Steinbeck's first novel, Cup of Gold was published in 1929. Steinbeck achieved his first critical success with the novel Tortilla Flat (1935), which won California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal. The story of the adventures of young men in Monterey during the Great Depression was made into a film of the same name in 1942, starring Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, and John Garfield.

Critical success

Back in California, Steinbeck found his stride in writing "California novels" and Dust Bowl fiction, set among common people in the Great Depression. His socially-conscious novels about the struggles of rural workers achieved major critical success. Of Mice and Men (1937), his novella about the dreams of a pair of migrant laborers working the California soil, was critically acclaimed.

The stage adaptation of his novel Of Mice and Men was a smash hit, starring Broderick Crawford as the dim-witted but physically powerful itinerant farmhand "Lennie" and Wallace Ford as Lennie's companion, "George." However, Steinbeck refused to travel from his home in California to attend any performance of the play during its New York run, telling Kaufman that the play as it existed in his own mind was "perfect", and that anything presented on stage would only be a disappointment. Steinbeck would ultimately write only two stage plays (his second was an adaptation of The Moon Is Down).

The play was rapidly adapted into a 1939 Hollywood film, in which Lon Chaney Jr. played "Lennie" (who had already portrayed this role in the Los Angeles production of the play) and Burgess Meredith was cast as "George." Steinbeck followed this wave of success with The Grapes of Wrath (1939), based on newspaper articles he had written in San Francisco, and considered by many to be his finest work. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1940 even as it was made into a famous film version starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford.

The success of The Grapes of Wrath, however, was not free of controversy, as Steinbeck's liberal political views, portrayal of the ugly side of capitalism, and mythical reinterpretation of the historical events of the Dust Bowl migrations[1] led to backlash against the author, especially close to home. In fact, claiming the book was both obscene and misrepresented conditions in the county, the Kern County Board of Supervisors banned the book from the county's public schools and libraries in August 1939. This ban lasted until January 1941.[2] Of the controversy, Steinbeck himself wrote, "The vilification of me out here from the large landowners and bankers is pretty bad. The latest is a rumor started by them that the Okies hate me and have threatened to kill me for lying about them. I'm frightened at the rolling might of this damned thing. It is completely out of hand; I mean a kind of hysteria about the book is growing that is not healthy."[3]

The film versions of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men (by two different movie studios) were in production simultaneously. Steinbeck spent a full day on the set of The Grapes of Wrath and the next day on the set of Of Mice and Men.

1940s–1960s

Steinbeck divorced his first wife, Carol Henning, in 1943. He immediately married Gwyn Conger that same year, and had two sons, Thomas Myles in 1944 and John Steinbeck IV (Catbird), in 1946. They divorced in 1948. Two years later, Steinbeck married Elaine Scott, the ex-wife of actor Zachary Scott. They were married until his death in 1968. Steinbeck had one grandchild. In 1940, Steinbeck's interest in marine biology and his friendship with Ed Ricketts led him to a historical voyage in the Gulf of California, also known as the "Sea of Cortez," where they collected biological specimens. Their account of this trip was later published as The Log from the Sea of Cortez, and describes the daily experiences of the trip. Ed Ricketts had a tremendous impact on Steinbeck's writing. Not only did he help Steinbeck while he was in the process of writing, but he aided Steinbeck in his social adventures. Steinbeck would frequently go on trips with Ricketts to collect biological specimens and have a good time away from his writing. This down time gave Steinbeck an opportunity to think about things other than his writing, and gave him some very significant ideas. Ricketts' impact on Steinbeck was so great that Steinbeck decided to base his character "Doc" in Cannery Row, on Ricketts. Steinbeck's relationship with Ricketts would end when Steinbeck moved away from Salinas, California, to pursue a life away from his wife Carol.

During World War II, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. It was at that time he became friends with Will Lang Jr. of TIME/ LIFE Magazine. Some of Steinbeck's writings from his correspondence days were later collected and made into Once There Was A War (1958).

He continued to work in film, writing Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944), and the film A Medal for Benny (1945), about paisanos from Tortilla Flat going to war.

His novel The Moon is Down (1942), about the Socrates-inspired spirit of resistance in a Nazi-occupied village in northern Europe, was made into a film almost immediately. It is presumed that the country in question was Norway, and in 1945 Steinbeck received the Haakon VII Medal of freedom for his literary contributions to the Norwegian resistance movement.

After the war, he wrote The Pearl (1947), already knowing it would be filmed.[4], and traveled to Mexico for the filming; on this trip he would be inspired by the story of Emiliano Zapata, and wrote a film script (Viva Zapata!) that was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn.

In 1948 Steinbeck again toured the Soviet Union, together with renowned photographer Robert Capa. They visited Moscow, Kiev, Tbilisi, Batumi and the ruined Stalingrad. He wrote a humorous report book about their experiences, A Russian Journal, that was illustrated with Capa's photos. Avoiding political topics and reporting about the life of simple Soviet peasants and workers Steinbeck tried to generate more understanding towards the Soviet people in a time when hysterical anti-Communism was widespread in the US and the danger of war between the two countries was imminent. In the same year he was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Following his divorce of Gwyndolyn Conger, and the sudden, tragic death of his close friend Ed Ricketts, Steinbeck wrote one of his most popular novels, East of Eden (1952). This book, which he wrote to give his sons some idea of their heritage, was the book he repeatedly wrote of as his best and his life's work.

In 1952, Steinbeck appeared as the on-screen narrator of 20th Century Fox's film, O. Henry's Full House. Although Steinbeck later admitted he was uncomfortable before the camera, he provided interesting introductions to several filmed adaptations of short stories by the legendary writer O. Henry. About the same time, Steinbeck recorded readings of several of his short stories for Columbia Records; despite some obvious stiffness, the recordings provide a vivid "record" of Steinbeck's deep, resonant voice.

Following the success of Viva Zapata!, Steinbeck collaborated with Kazan on the theatrical production of East of Eden, James Dean's film debut. Steinbeck did not care for Dean, he claimed that the actor was arrogant, but said that Dean was the perfect person to play Cal Trask.

Steinbeck was a friend to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Steinbeck's last novel, The Winter of Our Discontent, was written in 1961 . In many of his letters to friends, he spoke of how this book was his statement on the moral decay of the US culture. Like many of his works, it was critically savaged; unlike his previous works, it also did not find popularity with the masses.

In 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.” In his acceptance speech, he said,

"the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit – for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I hold that a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature."[5]

In 1964, Steinbeck was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom by President Johnson.

In 1967, at the behest of Newsday magazine, Steinbeck went to Vietnam to report on the war there. Thinking that the Vietnam War was a heroic venture, he was considered a Hawk for his position on that war. His sons both served in Vietnam prior to his death.

On December 20, 1968 John Steinbeck died in New York. His death is listed as heart disease or heart attack [6]

Legacy

The Salinas, California area, including the Salinas Valley, Monterey, and parts of the nearby San Joaquin Valley, acted as a setting for many of his stories. Because of his feeling for local color, the area is now sometimes called "Steinbeck Country".

The day after Steinbeck's death in New York City, reviewer Charles Poore wrote in the New York Times: "John Steinbeck's first great book was his last great book. But Good Lord, what a book that was and is: The Grapes of Wrath." Poore noted a "preachiness" in Steinbeck's work, "as if half his literary inheritance came from the best of Mark Twain—and the other half from the worst of Cotton Mather." But he asserted that "Steinbeck didn't need the Nobel Prize—the Nobel judges needed him." Poore concluded: "His place in [U.S.] literature is secure. And it lives on in the works of innumerable writers who learned from him how to present the forgotten man unforgettably."

Steinbeck's works are frequently included on required reading lists in American and Canadian high schools. His works are much less commonly taught at the university level, particularly when compared to the works of contemporaries such as William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.[citation needed]

Steinbeck's boyhood home, a turreted Victorian in downtown Salinas, has been preserved and restored by the Valley Guild, a nonprofit organization. Fixed menu lunches are served Monday through Saturday, and the house is open for tours during the summer on Sunday afternoons. The National Steinbeck Center, two blocks away, anchors Oldtown Salinas which has many Victorian and Edwardian-era buildings with which Steinbeck would have been familiar. The NSC is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to a single author, and Dana Gioia (chair of the National Endowment for the Arts) told an audience at the Center, "This is really the best modern literary shrine in the country, and I've seen them all." Its Steinbeckiana includes Rocinante, the camper truck in which Steinbeck made the crosscountry trip described in "Travels with Charley." The cottage his father owned on Eleventh Street in Pacific Grove, where Steinbeck wrote some of his earliest books, has also survived.

[edit] Political views

Steinbeck's literary background brought him into close collaboration with leftist authors, journalists, and labor union figures, who may have influenced his writing. Steinbeck was mentored by radical writers Lincoln Steffens and his wife Ella Winter, and through Francis Whitaker, a member of the United States Communist Party’s John Reed Club for writers, Steinbeck met with strike organizers from the Cannery and Agricultural Workers' Industrial Union.[7]

Although the FBI never officially investigated him, Steinbeck did come to their attention because of his political beliefs, and he was screened by Army Intelligence during World War II to determine his suitability for an officer's commission. They found him ideologically unqualified. "Do you suppose you could ask Edgar's boys to stop stepping on my heels? They think I am an enemy alien. It is getting tiresome," Steinbeck wrote to Attorney General Francis Biddle, in 1942. [8]

In later years, he would be criticized from the left by those who accused him of insufficient ideological commitment to Socialism. In 1948 a women's socialist group in Rome condemned Steinbeck for converting to "the camp of war and anti-Marxism" [9]and in 1955 an article in the Daily Worker criticized Steinbeck's portrayal of the American Left.[10] In 1967, Steinbeck traveled to Vietnam to report on the war, and his sympathetic portrait of the United States Army caused the New York Post to denounce him for betraying his liberal past. Steinbeck biographer Jay Parini has suggested that Steinbeck's personal affection for Lyndon Johnson, whom he considered a friend, influenced his view of the situation in Vietnam.

Steinbeck was a close associate of playwright Arthur Miller, author of Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. In the 1950s, Steinbeck took a personal and professional risk by standing up for his companion, who was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to name names in the infamous HUAC trials. Steinbeck called the period one of the "strangest and most frightening times a government and people have ever faced."

[edit] Works

[edit] Of Mice and Men

For more details on this topic, see Of Mice and Men.

Of Mice and Men is a tragedy that was written in the form of a play in 1937. The story is about two traveling ranch workers, George and Lennie, trying to work up enough money to buy their own farm/Ranch. It encompasses themes of racism, loneliness, prejudice against the mentally ill, and the struggle for personal independence. Along with Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and The Pearl, Of Mice and Men is one of Steinbeck's best known works. {fact} It was made into a movie three times, in 1932 starring Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney Jr., and Betty Field, in 1982 starring Randy Quaid, Robert Blake and Ted Neeley, and in 1992 starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich.

The Grapes of Wrath was written in 1939 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. The book is set in the Great Depression and describes a family of sharecroppers, the Joads, who were driven from their land due to the dust storms of the Dust Bowl. The title is a reference to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The book was made into a film in 1940 starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford.

[edit] East of Eden

For more details on this topic, see East of Eden.

Steinbeck turned his attention from social injustice to human psychology in a Salinas Valley saga. The story follows two families: the Hamiltons--based on Steinbeck's own maternal ancestrage--and the Trasks--a reimagined version of the "first family." The book was published in 1952.

Travels With Charley

For more details on this topic, see Travels With Charley: In Search of America.

In 1960, Steinbeck bought a pickup truck and had it modified with a custom-built camper top -- rare for that day -- and drove across the United States with his faithful poodle, Charley. In this sometimes comical, sometimes melancholic book, Steinbeck describes what he sees from Maine to Montana to California, and from there to Texas and Louisiana and back to his home in Long Island. The restored camper truck is on exhibit in the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California.

[edit] Film credits

1939 – Of Mice and Men – directed by Lewis Milestone, featuring Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr., and Betty Field

1940 – The Grapes of Wrath – directed by John Ford, featuring Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell and John Carradine

1941 – The Forgotten Village – directed by Herbert Kline, narrated by Burgess Meredith

1942 – Tortilla Flat – directed by Victor Fleming, featuring Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr and John Garfield

1943 – The Moon is Down – directed by Irving Pichel, featuring Lee J. Cobb and Sir Cedric Hardwicke

1944 – Lifeboat – directed by Alfred Hitchcock, featuring Tallulah Bankhead, Hume Cronyn, and John Hodiak

1944 – A Medal for Benny – directed by Irving Pichel, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Arturo de Cordova

1947 – La Perla (The Pearl, Mexico) – directed by Emilio Fernández, featuring Pedro Armendáriz and María Elena Marqués

1949 – The Red Pony – directed by Lewis Milestone, featuring Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, and Louis Calhern

1952 – Viva Zapata! – directed by Elia Kazan, featuring Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn and Jean Peters

1955 – East of Eden – directed by Elia Kazan, featuring James Dean, Julie Harris, Jo Van Fleet, and Raymond Massey

1956 – The Wayward Bus – directed by Victor Vicas, featuring Rick Jason, Jayne Mansfield, and Joan Collins

1961 – Flight – featuring Efrain Ramírez and Arnelia Cortez

1962 – Ikimize bir dünya (Of Mice and Men, Turkey)

1972 – Topoli (Of Mice and Men, Iran)

1982 – Cannery Row – directed by David S. Ward, featuring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger

1992 – Of Mice and Men – directed by Gary Sinise and starring John Malkovich

[edit] Bibliography

Cup of Gold (1929)

The Pastures of Heaven (1932)

The Red Pony (1933)

To a God Unknown (1933)

Tortilla Flat (1935)

The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath (1936)

In Dubious Battle (1936)

Of Mice and Men (1937)

The Long Valley (1938)

The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Forgotten Village (1941)

The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1941)

The Moon Is Down (1942)

Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team (1942)

Cannery Row(1945)

The Pearl (1947)

The Wayward Bus (1947)

A Russian Journal (1948)

Burning Bright (1950)

East of Eden (1952)

Sweet Thursday (1954)

The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957)

Once There Was A War (1958)

The Winter of Our Discontent (1961)

Travels With Charley (1962)

America and Americans (1966)

Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969)

Zapata (1975)

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976)

Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath 1938–1941 (1989)

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John Ernst Steinbeck (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was William Philo Hibbard's 5th Cousin

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John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr., Nobel Prize in Literature 1962's Timeline

1902
February 27, 1902
Salinas Valley, Monterey County, California, United States
1946
1946
Age 43
1968
December 20, 1968
Age 66
New York, NY, United States
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