Flexner, James Thomas 1908-2003

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FLEXNER, James Thomas 1908-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 13, 1908, in New York, NY; died February 13, 2003, in New York, NY. Author. Flexner was a prolific author of award-winning nonfiction who was best known for his multi-volume biography of George Washington, which earned him a National Book Award and a special Pulitzer Prize. A graduate of Harvard University, where he received a B.S. in 1929, Flexner first found work as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, and from 1931 to 1932 worked for the New York City Department of Health's Noise Abatement Commission. He embarked on his freelance career in 1932, writing some two dozen books on various subjects during his lifetime, a remarkable achievement for someone who suffered from dyslexia. After his first attempts to write novels ended in failure, Flexner decided to write about his father, a pathologist and developer of a treatment for spinal meningitis, and other early physicians. The result was published as Doctors on Horseback: Pioneers of American Medicine (1937). He then went on to write on such subjects as American art before turning to biography with such books as John Singleton Copley (1947) and Gilbert Stuart (1955). His four-volume George Washington: A Biography (1965-72) was his most popular work, winning its author the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1972 and getting adapted twice as a television miniseries. Flexner went on to write several more acclaimed biographical works, including The World of Winslow Homer, 1836-1910 (1966) and The Young Hamilton (1978); his more recent books include Poems of the 1920s (1991) and his autobiography, Maverick's Progress (1996).



Writers Directory, 17th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2002.


Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2003, p. B10.

New York Times, February 16, 2003, p. A30.

Washington Post, February 17, 2003, p. B4.