Steinbeck with his wife Gwyn and their son Thom
Newspaper article on Steinbeck
John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902. He was the third of four children, and the only son born to John Ernest Sr. and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. John’s father was a quiet, disappointed man who had failed at managing a flour mill and running his own feed store. John’s mother, Olive, was a strong-willed former teacher. John graduated from Salinas High School in 1919. He attended Stanford University from 1919 to 1925 but never earned a degree.
Steinbeck moved to New York directly after college, taking odd jobs, while spending much of his time
writing. His works, however, were continually ignored, so he moved back to California where he met his first wife, Carol Henning.
Steinbeck and Henning were married in 1930, and moved to Pacific Grove together. Around the same time as the marriage, Steinbeck’s first novel was published, titled “Cup of Gold.” After only a year, his marriage with Carol Henning ended and they parted ways. Though the two had parted, the divorce had yet to be finalized, so Steinbeck took this time to write two of his most successful novels- “Of Mice and Men,” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” Soon after the divorce was finalized, he fell in love again with a very young singer and dancer, Gwyn Conger. Together they had two sons, but sadly their children couldn’t keep them together.
The two divorced in 1948, following the publishing of “The Pearl.” This, combined with the death of a close friend, left Steinbeck in a deep depression for almost a year afterward. By 1950, John found the woman he was meant to settle down with, named Elaine Scott, and they moved to New York City. They lived out the rest of their days in New York City and Long Island, New York. In 1961, Steinbeck wrote his final novel, “The Winter of Our Discontent.” By December 20, 1968, John Steinbeck passed away. His death was due to heart disease and congestive heart failure, attributed to his lifelong smoking habits.

Steinbeck and his two sons John and Thom
Steinbeck and his wife Elaine Scott