Norman Maclean was born in Clarinda, Iowa on December 23, 1902. He worked for the United States Forest Service before he graduated from Dartmouth in 1924, where he eventually became an instructor. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1940, where he also became an instructor and received three Quantrell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Maclean was the Dean of Students and Director of the Institute on Military Studies at the University of Chicago, where he co-authored the Manual of Instruction in Military Maps and Aerial Photographs. He was also the William Rainey Harper Professor of English at the University of Chicago. Maclean authored A River Runs Through It, a fictionalized account of the relationship with his brother and father and Young Men and Fire, the story of the forest fires that ravaged the Montana forestland in 1949. Norman Maclean died in Chicago on August 2, 1990.