Belting, Natalia Maree (1915-1997) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Belting, Natalia Maree (1915-1997)
Fuller Form: Belting, Natalia Maree 1915-1997

Historical Note: Natalia Maree Belting was born on July 11, 1915 in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Her parents encouraged her to read, and she wrote her first book at age six. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1936, and went on to earn a master's degree and Ph.D. in American history (1940) from the same institution. She taught history at her alma mater from 1942 until her retirement. She became an associate professor in 1973, and retired as a full professor. She studied and wrote about the history of Native Americans and early French colonizers in Illinois. This research formed the basis of her first children's book, Pierre of Kaskaskia, as well as her third book, In Enemy Hands. Indy and Mr. Lincoln, and Verity Mullens and the Indian were also based on historical incidents. For the most part though, Belting adapted myths and folktales for young readers. Focusing on a single theme, such as "little people" (Elves and Ellefolk) or the sun (The Sun Is a Golden Earring), Belting usually included ten to twenty myths from around the world. In 1962, The Sun Is a Golden Earring, with illustrations by Bernarda Bryson, was a Caldecott Medal honor book. Throughout her adult life, Belting was active in community affairs, and preached occasionally at Presbyterian churches. As of 1996, she was a professor emerita and still living in Urbana, Illinois.
Sources: Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volume 3
Note Author: Mark A. Puente

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