About George W. Martin

I was born in New York City, on Manhattan, and lived there most of my life. Now I live in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which calls itself “The Mushroom Capital of the World.” As you may guess, we take our mushrooms seriously. And though I love it here, I still love my home town, New York, return to it frequently, and still count myself as a citizen of it.

As a boy I was sent to various schools in New York City and New England and ended up at Harvard College. Between my junior and senior year there I took a year’s leave to work as a reporter for a newspaper in Lawton, Oklahoma. The project made my father nervous, for his father had been a journalist and earned, or at least kept, very little money, though for some thirty or so years he was a well-known editorial writer.

In Oklahoma, however, I discovered that journalism, though fun, was not the kind of writing I wanted to do. I wanted to write books and articles that survive more than a day; I wanted to delve deeper into subjects than most reporters have time to do. Yet from the start I knew that I would never be a best-seller. Somehow, I never seemed drawn to the wave of the future, the cutting edge, or the moment’s fashion. So I had, as my father worried, the problem of earning a living.

On his advice, I went to law school (I had the benefit of the G. I. Bill of Rights from some World War II naval service) and upon graduating, I practiced law for five years in New York, in a small Manhattan firm. I did mostly trust, estates, and small corporations. One of the latter, for which I served as secretary, took abandoned, orphan, or troubled children and tried to help them with foster homes, institutional care, specialized instruction. And I found the work sometimes very sad but always fascinating. I enjoyed the law, but there was always something I wanted to do even more. I had hoped to write in the mornings and evenings while supporting myself in law, but I discovered that my mind was too small to do two things at once. If a choice there had to be, then I chose writing. If run over by a taxi cab – a New York City image – I wanted to have my last words: “Well, I tried it!” Not, “Shucks, I never did it!” So I quit the law and took to writing full time. As someone once observed: The desire to write is like a minor skin disease, you never die from it and you never get over it. So there you are. Or rather, here am I. Scribble, scribble, scribble. And I count myself lucky.