“A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a bankrupt intellect. Be gone, odious wasp! You smell of decayed syllables.” - Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Juster was born on June 2, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his Bachelor's in Architecture in 1952. After doing graduate work at the University of Liverpool as a Fulbright scholar, Juster went on to serve in the United States Naval Reserve Civil Engineer Corps from 1954 to 1957, helping to build airfields in Morocco and Newfoundland among many other duties. Juster married Jeanne Ray, a graphic designer, on August 15, 1964. They have one child together, Emily Juster. In addition to writing, Juster has also worked as an architect in New York with the firm Juster and Gugliotta from 1960 to 1968 and with Juster-Pope-Frazier Associates in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts from 1969 to the present. He began teaching architecture at Hampshire College in 1970 and became an Emeritus Professor of Design in 1992. Juster currently resides at 55 Kellog Street in Amherst.
Norton Juster has published several books, both fiction and non-fiction, since the 1960s. His most well-known work is The Phantom Tollbooth. The book, first published in 1961, tells the adventures of Milo, a young boy who is transported to a land called the Kingdom of Wisdom by a magical tollbooth. In 1963 he published The Dot and The Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, which tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers -- a dot and a line. His subsequent children's books include, Stark Naked: A Paranomastic Odyssey (1969), Otter Nonsense (1994), As Silly As Knees, As Busy As Bees: An Astounding Assortment of Similes (1998), The Hello Goodbye Window (2005), Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie (2008), The Odious Ogre (2010), and most recently Neville (2011). Juster has also published two works of non-fiction -- So Sweet to Labor: Rural Women in America, 1865-1895 (1979) and A Woman's Place: Yesterday's Women in Rural America (1996).
Norton Juster's most famous work, The Phantom Tollbooth, has proven to be a timeless work of fiction. The Phantom Tollbooth made The New York Times list of best-selling books for children in 1962. In 1966 The New York Times included it on its list of the fifty best children's book of the previous five years. The Dot and The Line was made into an animated short film by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1965. In 1970, MGM adapted The Phantom Tollbooth into a full-length animated feature. It was also performed as an opera for Opera Delaware in 1995. Juster has won numerous awards for his literary work including a Ford Foundation grant in 1960-1961, the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1968-1969, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1970-1971, and the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books Seventh Recognition of Merit in 1971.
Norton Juster's first home in Amherst, Massachusetts was located on 259 Lincoln Avenue. He currently resides in 55 Kellogg Avenue in Amherst. Neither of his Amherst homes have been designated historic landmarks.
Directions to Next Stop
Walk East on Kellogg Avenue for 0.1 miles. Turn right onto Triangle Street and walk for 0.2 miles. Turn right onto Main Street and walk for 0.02 miles. Turn left onto Dickinson Street and walk for 0.08 miles. Turn right onto Spring street and walk for 0.07 miles to 90 Spring Street.