Dare Wright (1914-2001)
“Dare Wright was born in Canada to her mother, Edie, and Father, Ivan. Her parents’ marriage dissolved before Dare turned three, and her father departed, taking with him Dare’s older brother, Blaine. Brother and sister were not to reunite until they were in their twenties. Dare grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and showed an early creative aptitude. Encouraged by her mother, Edith Stevenson Wright, Dare learned to sketch, paint, write and sew. It took the catalyst of photography for Dare to later combine these talents into her “Lonely Doll” book series.”
Moving to New York in her twenties, Dare modeled for leading magazines for the day and held modest parts in theatrical productions. A stunning beauty, Dare seemed a natural beauty for show business, but she was never entirely comfortable in the public eye. Competition, with other actresses or with her mother as a painter, was distressing. Instead, Dare found her niche as a photographer, first in the fashion field, then as a children’s book author. In 1941, Dare and her brother, Blaine met for the first time since they were separated as children.” Brook Ashley
“In 1957 success of Dare’s first book, “The Lonely Doll”, brought widespread acclaim to her, as both an author and a photographer. Illustrated with Dare’s haunting black and white photographs, the seemingly simple text touched both child and adult. Over fifty years later, Dare’s nineteen published books continue to delight a new generation of readers; The UK’s Guardian recently listed “The Lonely Doll” number one among all illustrated children’s books of all time.” Brook Ashley
Some of Dare’s Photography on her visits to Ocracoke Island in the 1950s. Self Portraits and Ocracoke Scenes (copyright Estate of Dare Wright)
Ocracoke in the Fifties, now in print for the first time, is Dare Wright’s only book for adults. First and foremost, it is a tribute to one of Dare’s favorite places. It is also a time capsule of a unique island culture just past the midpoint of the twentieth century. And surprisingly, it is a testament to the timelessness of Ocracoke- which would please Dare immensely. Ocracoke has seen its share of changes, to be sure, but the readers will have no trouble recognizing the durable little island off the North Carolina coast.
The Ocracoke Lighthouse, the British Cemetery, the pony herd, the white picket fences, the legend of Blackbeard, the weathered fishermen, the barefoot children- seldom have Ocracoke’s landmarks, legends, and people been portrayed so memorably as by Dare Wright’s camera and pen. Editors Brook Ashley and John Ogilvie. This book is available and can be purchased at the Museum in season.
Dare’s Holiday for Edith and the Bears book, is about a trip to the island of Ocracoke and one of her great children’s books, the photographs are trip down memory lane for Ocracoke in the 1950’s and feature the trio that spans many of her children’s books. Some of the photographs below are from the making of this book (copyright Estate of Dare Wright) This book was out of print for a number of years but now Holiday for Edith and the Bears is back in print as a hardcover and paperback along with several other of her children’s books.
Dare Wright died in 2001
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