Author Beatrix Potter

Here are some interesting facts about Beatrix Potter:

  • Helen Beatrix Potter was born on July 28, 1866, in Kensington, London, UK to an upper-class household.
  • She was educated through her childhood by a total of 3 governesses.
  • Her grandfather was a Member of Parliament.
  • Potter’s father was a barrister.
  • Her father invested in the stock market and was extremely wealthy by the early 1890’s.
  • As a child she kept a variety of pets, including mice, rabbits, a hedgehog, and some bats.
  • Beatrix and her brother Bertram loved to draw and paint. They often sketched their pets.
  • She had an early fascination with nature, and spend many hours creating intricate sketches of animals and plants.
  • Beatrix had two pet rabbits – Benjamin Bouncer first, then Peter Piper. They were early models for her drawings, and went for walks on leads, and Peter accompanied Beatrix everywhere.
  • At age 14, she started keeping a diary written in her own devised code and she kept it from 1881 until 1897.
  • Beatrix was interested in every branch of natural science except for astronomy.
  • Her study and drawings of fungi led her to be widely respected in the field of mycology.
  • Beatrix and her brother began to print Christmas cards in the 1890’s to earn extra money.
  • In 1893, Beatrix sent a picture letter with the first telling of the tale of Peter Rabbit.
  • She self-published her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, for her friends and family in 1901 after several rejections from publishers.
  • Peter Rabbit was widely published in 1902 by Frederick Warne & Co. after it’s success from self-publishing. The book was instantly a bestseller.
  • In 1903, Beatrix made and patented a Peter Rabbit doll. It’s the world’s oldest licensed literary character.
  • Income from the sales of the doll and spin-off merchandise earned Beatrix an independent income.
  • She was able to buy Hill Top Farm in 1905, the home (later workshop and studio) from which she wrote her stories.
  • At age 47, Beatrix married William Heelis, a solicitor with whom she worked to purchase and manage pastures contiguous to the home.
  • She was interested in breeding and raising Herdwick sheep, and she bought a large sheep farm in 1923.
  • In 1942, Beatrix became President-elect of the Herdwick Sheepbreeders’ Association, the first woman to have been elected.
  • She wrote 30 books, 23 were children’s tales.
  • Now, 2 million Beatrix Potter books are sold all over the world every year.
  • She died of complications from pneumonia and heart disease on December 22, 1943.
  • Beatrix left almost all her property to the National Trust, which included around 4,000 acres of land, 15 farms, cottages, and herds of cattle and Herdwick sheep.