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Children's book author Woolley dies at 100

Wrote 87 books, including ‘I Like Trains,’ ‘Ginnie and Geneva’ series
/ Source: The Associated Press

Catherine Woolley, who wrote 87 children’s books under her name and the pen name Jane Thayer, has died at age 100.

Woolley, who was so prolific that her publisher advised her to use the pen name, continued to write into her 90s but had been in failing health in recent years, said her niece, Betsy Drinkwater of Enfield, N.H. Woolley died Saturday at her home in Truro on Cape Cod.

For older children, Woolley used her real name on books such as the “Ginnie and Geneva” series about the adventures of two girls. She used her grandmother’s name as a nom de plume on the many picture books she wrote for younger readers.

Her first book, “I Like Trains,” was published in 1944; her last, “Writing for Children,” in 1989.

Woolley, who did not marry or have children, often drew on her own experience and world travels in her writings. She wrote on a Remington typewriter and never used a computer.

“After her 100th birthday last summer, her goal was to live long enough to vote in the 2004 election, and she did,” Drinkwater said of the lifelong Democrat.

Born in Chicago, Woolley grew up in Passaic, N.J., then attended both Barnard College in New York and the University of California at Los Angeles, earning her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1927.

When the Truro Library opened its new building in 1996, it named its children’s room after her.