Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Flashback: Peter Pan

Sir James Matthew Barrie came into the world on Scottish soil (my ancestral homeland), May 9th, 1860. He is most well known for creating the beloved character, Peter Pan. He wrote the story as a play in 1901, and it was performed on the London stage in 1904. He novelized the story as Peter and Wendy in 1911 and it was published by Hodder and Stoughton in the UK and Charles Scribner’s Sons in the US.

Barrie created the character of Peter Pan in stories he told to the sons of his friend, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. Her children inspired him to write of the ageless boy and ordinary girl named Wendy who had many adventures in Neverland. Although he would go on to write successfully, nothing quite equaled the popularity of the boy who would never grow up.

It is also rumored that the death of his older brother, David, had an influence in the story of Peter Pan. David was two days shy of his 14th birthday and Barrie was 6 at the time. His mother was devastated by the loss but it did bring her some comfort to pretend her son would remain a boy forever, never to grow up and leave her. Sound familiar?

After the death of his friend Sylvia, Barrie was named as one of the co-guardians of her boys and adopted them unofficially. He remained close to them until his death.

He died of pneumonia on June 19th, 1937 and was buried in Scotland next to his parents. He left the majority of his estate to his secretary, except for the Peter Pan works. In 1929, Barrie had given the copyright to the Great Ormond Street Hospital, a children's hospital in London.

His birthplace at 4 Brechin Road in Kirriemuir is kept as a museum by the National Trust of Scotland.

While J.M. Barrie may be off on an awfully big adventure, the fruits of his imagination will remain with us, continuing to grow and spread happiness for generations to come.


  1. I love your Friday Flashbacks! Also, Johnny Depp played him in Finding Neverland. Sweet.

  2. You learn something new every day. Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. Cool information. I listened to "Peter Pan" on audio CD, interesting story. Also saw "Finding Neverland". :-)


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