Hugh Lofting was born in 1866 in Maidenhead, England. He trained as a civil engineer, getting his education from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Polytechnic Institute of London. He worked in Africa, the West Indies and Canada and then settled in New York to become a writer. The stories about Doctor Dolittle began as letters to his children while overseas in England during World War I, where Lofting served with the British Army. The first Doctor Dolittle book published was "The Story of Doctor Dolittle" in 1920. He wrote thirteen more, winning the Newberry Medal in 1923 for "The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle." Lofting illustrated all of the Dolittle books himself. In 1967, the Doctor Dolittle books were made into a musical film starring Rex Harrison. Hugh Lofting died in 1947 at the age of 81.