Allan W. Eckert is an historian, naturalist, novelist, poet, screenwriter
and playwright. The author of thirty-nine published books,
he has been nominated on seven separate occasions for the Pulitzer
Prize in literature and, in 1985, was recipient of an honorary degree
as Doctor of Humane Letters from Bowling Green State University
in Ohio. In 1998 he received his second honorary doctorate,
also in Humane Letters, from Wright State University in Dayton,
Ohio. In addition to his books, he has written and had published
over 150 articles, essays, and short stories, as well as considerable
poetry, a major outdoor drama, and screenplays for several movies.
Most noted for his historical and natural history books, Dr. Eckert's
works have been translated into thirteen foreign languages around
the world. A number of his books have been selections of Reader's
Digest Condensed Books and several have been major book club selections.
The seven of his books that have been nominated for the Pulitzer
Prize in literature include A Time of Terror: The Great Dayton
Flood (history), Wild Season (fiction), The Silent
Sky (fiction), The Frontiersmen (history), Wilderness
Empire (history), The Conquerors (history), and A
Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh (biography).
Dr. Eckert's varied writing includes over 225 television shows
which he wrote for the renowned Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom
series and for this writing he received, in 1970, an Emmy Award
from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the
category of outstanding program achievement. He is playwright
of the acclaimed outdoor drama entitled Tecumseh!
which, in 1997, celebrated its 25th year of production at the multi-million-dollar
Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater near Chillicothe, Ohio, and which
has been described as the finest outdoor theater production in America.
Over that quarter-century, the production has been attended by more
than two million people. For this drama and his other writings,
he received from the Scioto Society, in 1987 the Second Annual Silver
Arrow Humanitarian Award "for his contributions to the human
spirit and knowledge as an author, novelist, playwright, naturalist
Dr. Eckert's best known historical narrative, The Frontiersmen,
from which he adapted his drama, Tecumseh!, won him the Ohioana
Library Association Book-of-the-Year Award in 1968. In that
same year, the Chicago-based national literary society, The Friends
of American Writers, presented him with its highest award of the
year for The Frontiersmen and Wild Season -- the first
time in that organization's forty-year history of awarding literary
prizes that it could not decide between two books by the same author
and therefore awarded him first prize for both. He also received,
for his book Incident at Hawk's Hill, the Newbery Honor Book
Award -- highest award for juvenile literature in America.
Again for Incident at Hawk's Hill, in 1976 he accepted, in person
in Vienna, the Austrian Juvenile Book-of-the-Year Award -- the first
time this prize was ever awarded to a non-Austrian. This same
book brought him the Best Book of the Year Award from Claremont
Colleges in California and it was also made into a two-part television
movie by Walt Disney under the title The Boy Who Talked to Badgers.
Now, a quarter century after that book's publication, Dr. Eckert
has written a sequel entitled Return to Hawk's Hill, which
was published in May, 1998. This will be a trilogy, with the
third volume, in progress, entitled The Treasure in Hawk's Hill.
His widely-acclaimed series of historical narratives entitled The
Winning of America consists of six volumes, including The Frontiersmen,
Wilderness Empire, The Conquerors, The Wilderness War, Gateway to
Empire, and Twilight of Empire. For this series
Dr. Eckert, in 1985, was presented the Americanism Award by the
Daniel Boone Foundation, and the governor of Kentucky, late in 1987,
bestowed upon him the status of honorary resident of that state
and conferred upon him its highest honor, commissioning him a Kentucky
Colonel. In 1995, his book That Dark and Bloody River:
Chronicles of the Ohio River Valley was named runner-up for
the Spur Award of the Western Writers of America. In 1997,
Dr. Eckert was recipient of the Writer of the Year Award bestowed
for his entire body of work by the National Popular Culture Association.
In respect to films, three of Dr. Eckert's book, Incident at
Hawk's Hill, was adapted into a two-part television movie in
1974 by Walt Disney Productions. His screenplays include "The
Legend of Koo-Tan", Don Meier Productions, 1971; "Wild
Journey", 1972, Don Meier Productions; "The Kentucky Pioneers",
1972, Encyclopedia Britannica Productions; and "George Rogers
Clark", 1973, Jerry Bean Productions.
In recent years Dr. Eckert's writings have included a series of
children's fantasy adventures similar to the C.S. Lewis Chronicles
of Narnia and generally entitled The Mesmerian Annals, which
thus far includes two published works -- The Dark Green Tunnel
and The Wand. Two others of the series in progress
are The Phantom Crystal and The Witching Well.
A noted American naturalist, Dr. Eckert has specialized, in addition
to historical writing, in writing about natural history subjects.
He has a keen interest in the natural history subjects of geology,
lepidopterology, entomology, ornithology, herpetology, paleontology,
archaeology, anthropology, mineralogy, and allied fields.
Among his important natural history writings are his companion books,
The Owls of North America and The Wading Birds of North America.
He has also written a series of four volumes, published in 1987
by Harper & Row, called Earth Treasures -- a guide to
over 5,000 sites in the contiguous United States where the amateur
collector can find excellent minerals, rocks and fossils.
His major definitive work on the gemstone opal, entitled The
World of Opals was published by John Wiley & Sons in October,
1997. In its review of this book, Lapidary Journal said, 'A book
that all opal lovers have been waiting for...this is one of the
most complete books that has ever been published for any gemstone."
Dr. Eckert, who was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in the
Chicago area, was graduated (1948) from Leyden Community High School
in Franklin Park, Illinois, and, after four years in the United
States Air Force, attended the University of Dayton (Ohio) and The
Ohio State University He was founder and chairman of the board
of the Lemon Bay Conservancy in Englewood, Florida, an organization
which preserves wildlife and estuarial systems, and he is a life
member and former trustee of the Dayton (Ohio) Museum of Natural
History and similarly is a life member of the Mazon Creek Paleontological
Society. He is a member of the American Gemcutters Society
and a consultant for La Salle Extension University in Chicago.
He also designed and wrote for Writer's Digest magazine their popular
correspondence courses entitled The Writer's Digest Course in
Article Writing and The Writer's Digest Course in Short Story
In 1999, tthe Ohioana Library Association, in celebration of its
70th anniversary, invited all Ohioans to vote for their all
time favorite Ohio authors and their books. Ballots were sent
to all public libraries in Ohio and many Ohio newspapers also participated
in the event. Dr. Eckert's book The Frontiersmen was selected
as Ohioans favorite book About Ohio or an Ohioan.
Dr. Eckert was himself selected as Ohios favorite author in
the category of About Ohio or an Ohioan, and in the
principal category of "Overall Favorite Ohio Writer of All
Time," the top honor was resulted in a tie -- shared by Toni
Morrison and Dr. Eckert.
Since 1967, Dr. Eckert has been listed in Who's Who in America,
Who's Who International, Who's Who in the Midwest, Who's Who in
the Southeast, Who's Who in Entertainment, Contemporary Authors,
and Something About the Author Autobiography Series.
He and his wife, Nancy, currently live in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Awards | Education
| Employment | Military
| Memberships | Statistical