April 10, 1921 - present
Aileen Kilgore Henderson was born and spent her early childhood in the coal-mining community of Cedar Creek, Ala., where her father worked in the company office. Shortly after the family bought and moved to a farm in Brookwood, Ala., the mines closed due to the Depression and her father lost his job. He obtained work as a telegrapher with the Frisco Railroad, which required him to live apart from the family at various railroad depots. After Henderson graduated from high school, she worked for several years at the S. H. Kress store. In 1944, she joined the Women's Army Corps and was stationed at Ellington Air Force Base in Texas, working first as an airplane mechanic, then as a photo technician.
After the war, Henderson returned home and attended the University of Alabama, earning a BS in education in 1950. After teaching school in Northport for two years, she returned to Texas to teach school in Panther Junction in the Big Bend National Park, where she met the man she would soon marry, a park ranger at that site. After their marriage, Henderson moved around the country with her husband to his various National Park assignments, doing volunteer work as a photographer and a museum docent. She also taught school in Minnesota in the 1960s. In 1966, she earned an MA in education from the University of Alabama. Henderson began her writing career in the 1960s, starting with magazine articles, then moving to short stories for adults and fiction for younger readers. Her first novel, The Summer of the Bonepile Monster, was published in 1995. She has also written two nonfiction books based on her experiences in Texas, Stateside Soldier and Tenderfoot Teacher. Henderson lives in Brookwood.
Aileen Kilgore Henderson's novels for younger readers portray adventure and mystery in a realistic manner. Her nonfiction books provide snapshot views of a young woman's everyday life in interesting and unusual circumstances.
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Photo by Bob Cleere; courtesy of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts, Auburn University.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.