About the author
Edward B Tracy was born on a farm in Connecticut, and studied mechanical engineering at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After he left, he worked for four years in the casting shop and rolling and tube mills of a brass company. He later became a sales representative and then the company’s export manager. All this presumably stood him in good stead when he wrote his three books for children on metals: on aluminium, copper and iron and steel.
His job involved much travel, and he used his travelling time to write; much of it was done on trains and planes. He was an organised writer. All the details of a story would be worked out in his mind, and he would then commit it to paper, not necessarily in order. He would write the first chapter, followed by the last, but what followed on then would not necessarily be chapter 2; it could just as easily be chapter 11. He said it was a “sort of a crazy system, but if the story is clear in your mind, it really doesn’t matter which chapter you write first.”
He wrote several children’s stories; one on sea lions and another on huskies, as well as his two horse books. King of the Stallions, which won a Junior Book Award from the Boys’ Clubs of America, was set on his summer home.
Finding the books:
Neither book is impossible to find: Great Horse is mid-priced; very good copies of King of the Stallions are expensive because of the Paul Brown illustrations.
Links and sources
Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987
Dustjacket of Great Horse of the Plains
Many thanks to Lisa Catz and Alison MacCallum for the photographs and information.
Bibliography (horse books only)
King of the Stallions
Dodd, Mead, New York, 1947, 241 pp, illus Paul Brown
Colonel is a young Percheron colt. When the cruel blacksmith Monk hits him, the horse bites. Monk promises he will kill the horse, and he is sent to the circus to keep him out of Monk’s way.
Great Horse of the Plains
Dodd, Mead, New York, 1954, 215 pp.
Set in Wyoming, this is the story of Young Hawk and his wild stallion, Gray Chief. The Sioux, Blackfoot and Crow pursue the great horse, but in vain, until finally Young Hawk succeeds in riding him during a raging forest fire. The stallion escapes, and mates with a blind black mare. Together they roam the country until Young Hawk recaptures the horse.