The Black Stallion’s Author: Walter Farley

By | February 15, 2019

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Walter Farley. Source: (

Walter Farley was born on June 26, 1915, in Syracuse, New York, the son of Walter Farley, an assistant hotel manager, and Isabel Vermilyea Farley. He always wanted to own horses but couldn’t because he lived in the city. Fortunately for him, his uncle, who was a professional horse trainer, decided to move his training stables from the West Coast to New York. The uncle taught him all about horses, including various racing styles as well as dressage and horse care. This knowledge would later be reflected in his writing.

He began writing his first book, The Black Stallion while attending Brooklyn’s Erasmus Hall High School. He continued to work on it throughout his studies despite being told by an editor that he couldn’t make a living writing children’s books. He completed the book while studying at Columbia and it was published in 1941 by Random House. He used his proceeds from the book to travel the world while being bombarded with fan mail from children who had fallen in love with The Black Stallion.  

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Still from The Black Stallion Returns (1983). Source: (

His writing was briefly interrupted during World War II when he served in the U.S. Army. After the war, he returned to his writing and The Black Stallion Returns was published in 1945. He would go on to write many sequels to the novel, with the 21st book in the series being co-written with his son, Steven Farley, and published shortly after his death. The Black Stallion series topped the New York Times list of best-selling children’s books in the 1940s and 1950s.