A Soldier's Story: Private First Class James Harvey Booth

A Soldier's Story: Private John William Cheever


Private John William Cheever was born on May 27, 1912, in Quincy, Mass. He attended the Thayer Academy and Quincy High School and began his writing career early in high school when he won a Boston Herald Short Story contest.  

After high school, Private John William Cheever applied for membership to the Yaddo Artist Colony in Saratoga Springs and was accepted in 1934. He would consider Yaddo a second home for most of his life and was regularly at the Saratoga Springs colony. Private John William Cheever's writing career took off in 1935 after he sold his first short story, "Buffalo," to the New Yorker and began to work for the Federal Writer's Project in 1938.  

Private John William Cheever enlisted in the US Army in 1942 in response to the beginning of  World War II. Shortly after his enlistment, his first collection of short stories, "The Way Some People Live," was published. Major Leonard Spigelgass liked it and transferred Private John William Cheever out of the infantry and into the Signal Corps, where he worked writing scripts for US Army training films. He remained with the Army until 1945.

After the war, Private John William Cheever continued writing, earning a Guggenheim Fellowship. He also volunteered for the Briarcliff Manor fire department.

During the 1970s, Priave John William Cheever taught writing, first at the Iowa Writer's Workshop and then at Boston College, and appeared on the cover of Newsweek in 1977.

Private John William Cheever would win the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for the Stories of John Cheever and the Edward MacDowell Medal. In 1982, he won the National Medal for Literature.

Private Cheever had an incredibly prolific writing career, publishing over 120 short stories, 7 short story collections, and 15 novels. 

Private John William Cheever died on June 18, 1982, and rests at the First Parish Cemetery in Norwell, Massachusetts. 


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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