Author and artist Edward ST. John Gorey (1925-2000) was a child prodigy, drawing pictures at the age of two, and teaching himself to read by the age of three.
In late 1952, with school behind him, he was offered a position with Doubleday's new imprint Doubleday Anchor in New York City (Gorey had attended Harvard with Barbara Epstein, the wife of Doubleday Anchor publisher Jason Epstein). Gorey rapidly became a significant figure in their art department, designing more than fifty covers and, more importantly, becoming recognized as a major commercial illustrator. Gorey moved through other publishing Houses (Looking Glass Library, Bobs-Merrill) before finally turning freelance in the Mid-1960s—a position he maintained for the rest of his life.
Gorey was an avid attendee of Balenchine’s New York City Ballet; in fact was reputed to have attended every performance of Balenchine’s ballets. He was also a book collector and accumulated a formidable library in his lifetime. In 1962 he launched his own publishing company, The Fantod Press.
Well-known as his art was, it reached a new awareness in the public mind when Public Television chose his style for their Masterpiece Mystery Theatre opening credits.
A longtime advocate of animal welfare, notwithstanding characteristic huge fur coat that was his trademark, Gorey kept pets from his earliest years, and cats during his New York and Cape Cod years. He left his estate to The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust which he established for the welfare of all living creatures including not only cats, dogs, whales and birds, but also bats, insects and even invertebrates. After his death in 2000 his Cape Cod home was converted into the Edward Gorey House, a museum whose profits and programs help benefit animals rights and literacy causes. Located in the park-like setting of the Yarmouth Port common on an elegant “horseshoe” of several attractive old New England homes, the Edward Gorey House has become a landmark cultural attraction contributing to the community with annual exhibitions, children's events and literary programs (for children as well as adults) The House is open to the public mid- April through December) with an annually changing exhibit and permanent displays. http://www.edwardgoreyhouse.org