Opal Whiteley
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Her attempts to get Fairyland published led Opal to Boston, specifically to the office of Ellery Sedgwick, editor of The Atlantic Monthly and one of the most influential literary figures of his time. He wasn't excited by the book Opal showed him, but he was enchanted by its author. She was "very young and eager and fluttering, like a bird in a thicket," he later wrote.

He asked her about her background. She told him. He was curious -- had Opal kept a diary? Yes, she had. But it was torn to bits, ostensibly by a jealous sister. Opal, however, had saved the pieces in an enormous hat box. "We telegraphed for them, and they came, hundreds, thousands, one might almost say millions of them," Sedgwick wrote in his introduction to the diary. "Some few were large as a half-sheet of notepaper; more, scarce big enough to hold a letter of the alphabet."

Opal spent the next eight months in Boston, at the house of Sedgwick's mother-in-law, piecing together the diary like a jigsaw puzzle. It was then serialized in The Atlantic, beginning March 1920. The book came out in August, and was an immediate success. It gave a picture of life as seen through the eyes of a child, declared the New York Times, "eyes that have been touched."

"It will be like no book that ever was," said Life magazine, "and may grow up to become a classic."

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