World Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born March 8: Kenneth Grahame

March 08, 2016 03:30 AM

  • A 10½-penny British stamp commemorating Kenneth Grahame's novel The Wind in the Willows was issued in 1979.

By Michael Baadke

Kenneth Grahame, the author of the children’s book The Wind in the Willows and several others, was born March 8, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

While working as a fulltime bank employee in London, Grahame wrote a number of stories that were published in newspapers. In 1893, some of Grahame’s tales were published together as Pagan Papers and were later collected with additional stories as The Golden Age.

A story titled The Reluctant Dragon was part of Dream Days, an 1898 collection. Elements of The Reluctant Dragon credited to Grahame would be used in the production of a 1941 Disney film of the same name.

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Grahame’s son Alastair was born in 1900, and Grahame composed a series of stories to share with the little boy, eventually writing them down as a children’s novel titled The Wind in the Willows, with its main characters Toad, Mole, Rat, and Weasel.

The Wind in the Willows, published in 1908, was Grahame’s most successful work, and his final book. Grahame died at age 73 in 1932.

A 10½-penny British stamp featuring characters from The Wind in the Willows was issued July 11, 1978 (Scott 868), in a set of four commemorating children’s books.

When a Greetings booklet of 10 stamps honoring children’s book characters was issued Feb. 2, 1993, a first-class rate stamp showing Toad and Mole from The Wind in the Willows was part of the set (Scott 1482).