Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (9 May 1860 – 19 June 1937) was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright.
"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. one day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. i suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, 'Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!' This was all that passed between the, on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end"
"Sometimes the little boy who calls me father brings me an invitation from his mother: 'I shall be so pleased if you will come and see me,' and I always reply in some such words as these: 'Dear madam, I decline.' And if David ask why I decline, I explain that it is because I have no desire to meet the woman"
J. M. Barrie died on June 19, 1937, in London, England. As a part of his will, he gave the copyright to <i>Peter Pan</i> to a children's hospital in London.
Peter and the other boys in the story were based on the children of Arthur and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Barrie’s friends). The character Wendy was inspired by W.E. Henley’s daughter, Margaret Emma. Barrie wrote several works about these characters including the novels <i>The Little White Bird: or, Adventures in Kensington Gardens</i> (1902), <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens</i> (1906), <i>When Wendy Grew Up: An Afterthought</i> (1908) and <i>Peter and Wendy</i> (1911).
The famous character of Peter Pan first appeared in the 1902 book <i>The Little White Bird</i>. Two years later, his play <i>Peter Pan</i> premiered on the London stage and became a great success. Audiences were drawn in the fantastical tale of the flying boy who never grew up and his adventures in Neverland with the Darling children.
A prolific writer of fiction, plays, articles and even an opera on which he collaborated with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Barrie was knighted in 1913, the same year he became rector of St. Andrews University. In 1922 he received the Order of Merit, and in 1928 became President of the Society of Authors.
In 1894 Barrie married actress Mary Ansell. Though they would have no children of their own, he became legal guardian to the five sons of the Llewelyn Davies family when they were orphaned.
His first novel was <i>The Little Minister</i> (1891). Although the work met with a poor critical reception, Barrie was popular with the general public, publishing works like <i>Sentimental Tommy</i> (1896), <i>Margaret Ogilvy</i> (1896) and <i>Tommy and Grizel</i> (1902). Barrie was particularly interested in writing for the theatre. He wrote plays like T<i>he Admirable Crichton</i> (1902) and <i>What Every Woman Knows</i> (1906).
In 1868 he went to study for three years at Glasgow Academy before returning to Forfarshire where he attended the local school. Then, from 1873 he spent his teenage years at Dumfries Academy before moving to Edinburgh to attend University at the age of 22. Barrie was unmoved by his University experience and he derived his intellectual inspiration largely from the theatre. Upon graduating he was already writing theatrical reviews, a career which eventually led him to London in 1885 where he would produce his first plays.
James Matthew Barrie was born at Kirriemuir in Forfarshire, the seventh child to David Barrie, a hand-loom weaver, and Margaret Ogilvie, the daughter of a stone-mason. Surviving on the income provided by declining weaving industry, the Barries were never wealthy and it is from his early childhood experiences as a dweller in the tenements that Barrie drew his sympathetic portraits of the rural poor.