Wilfrid Sheed
Wilfrid John Joseph Sheed (27 December 1930 – 19 January 2011) was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

-born American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 novelist and essayist.

Sheed was born in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to Francis "Frank" Sheed and Mary "Maisie" Ward, prominent Roman Catholic publishers (Sheed & Ward) in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 during the mid-20th century. Wilfrid Sheed spent his childhood in both England and the United States before attending Downside School
Downside School
Downside School is a co-educational Catholic independent school for children aged 11 to 18, located in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, between Norton Radstock and Shepton Mallet in Somerset, south west England. It is attached to Downside Abbey...

 and Lincoln College, Oxford
Lincoln College, Oxford
Lincoln College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. It is situated on Turl Street in central Oxford, backing onto Brasenose College and adjacent to Exeter College...

 where he earned BA (1954) and MA (1957) degrees.

Sheed's first novel, A Middle Class Education (1961), was based on his experiences at Oxford. His biography Frank and Maisie was about his parents' literary establishment and intellectual world. He wrote satirical novels about journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 and memoirs in his later years. His book on American popular music, entitled The House that George Built with a little help from Irving, Cole and a Crew of about Fifty was published in 2008.

Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor
Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor is an American author, storyteller, humorist, and radio personality. He is known as host of the Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor (born August 7, 1942) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, and radio...

 commented in a review of the book:
"Golden Age of American Song has been saluted and high-faluted in books and wept over repeatedly, but “The House That George Built” is a big rich stew of an homage that makes you want to listen to Gershwin and Berlin and Porter and Arlen all over again ... Sheed's jazzy prose is a joy to read. It goes catapulting along, digressing like mad, never pedantic, a little frantic, which is just right: the jazz song, like all true art, is a flight from depression, indifference, the cold blank stare, the earnest clammy touch.


Sheed was a great-grandson of William George Ward
William George Ward
William George Ward was an English Roman Catholic theologian and mathematician whose career illustrates the development of religious opinion at a time of crisis in the history of English religious thought....

, a grandson of Wilfrid Philip Ward
Wilfrid Philip Ward
Wilfrid Philip Ward was an English essayist and biographer.-Biography:He was born in 1856 at Old Hall, Ware, Hertfordshire to William George Ward. He attended St. Edmund's College in Ware, Hertfordshire; Ushaw College, in Durham, England; and Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. Afterward, he...

, a nephew of Father Leo Ward, a missioner in Japan and co-founder of Sheed & Ward, the son of Maisie Ward
Maisie Ward
Maisie Ward , scion of one of Britain's distinguished Catholic families, was a writer, publisher, and speaker.-Life:Famous in her day as one of the names behind the imprint Sheed & Ward and as a forceful public lecturer in the Catholic Evidence Guild, her reputation has dimmed in subsequent decades...

 and Frank Sheed
Frank Sheed
Frank Sheed, in full, Francis Joseph Sheed, , an Australian-born lawyer, was, like his wife Maisie Ward, a writer, publisher, and speaker. Famous in their day as the names behind the imprint Sheed & Ward and as forceful public lecturers in the Catholic Evidence Guild, their reputations have dimmed...

, and the brother of the translator, Rosemary Sheed.

He married Maria Bullitt Darlington in 1957 and they had three children; the marriage ended in divorce in 1967. He remarried in 1972 to cookbook author Miriam Ungerer. At his death he was survived by his second wife, three children, a sister, two stepdaughters and four grandchildren.


He died on 19 January 2011, aged 80, from urosepsis in Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Great Barrington is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,104 at the 2010 census. Both a summer resort and home to Ski Butternut, Great Barrington includes the villages of Van...


Published works

  • A Middle Class Education. 1961.
  • The Hack. 1963.
  • Square's Progress. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965.
  • Office Politics. 1966.
  • The Blacking Factory. 1968.
  • Max Jamison. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970.
  • The Morning After: Selected essays and reviews. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1971. ISBN 0374213054.
  • People Will Always Be Kind. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973. ISBN 0374230714.
  • Three Mobs: Labor, church, and Mafia. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1974. ISBN 0836205863.
  • Muhammad Ali: A Portrait in Words and Photographs. Orion Publishing Group. 1975. ISBN 0297770322
  • The Good Word & Other Words. New York: Dutton, 1978. ISBN 0525115927.
  • Transatlantic Blues New York: Dutton, 1978. ISBN 978-0525222262.
  • Clare Boothe Luce. New York: Dutton, 1982. ISBN 0525030557.
  • Frank and Maisie: A memoir with parents. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985. ISBN 0671449907.
  • The Boys of Winter: A novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987. ISBN 039455874X.
  • Essays in Disguise. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. ISBN 0394558758.
  • Baseball and Lesser Sports. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0060165316.
  • My Life as a Fan. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN 0671767100.
  • In Love with Daylight: A memoir of recovery. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. ISBN 0671792156.
  • The House that George Built with a little help from Irving, Cole and a Crew of about Fifty. New York: Random House, 2007 ISBN 9781400061051.

Further reading

  • Frank Sheed (1974), The Church and I, Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
  • Maisie Ward (1963), Unfinished Business, New York: Sheed & Ward.
  • Maisie Ward (1973), To and Fro on the Earth: A Sequel to an Autobiography, New York: Sheed & Ward.

Awards and honors

  • 1987 Grammy Award for Best Album Notes
    Grammy Award for Best Album Notes
    The Grammy Award for Best Album Notes has been presented since 1964. From 1973 to 1976, a separate award was presented for Best Album Notes - Classical. Those awards are listed under those years below. The award recognizes albums with excellent liner notes...

     for his liner notes for The Voice – The Columbia Years 1943-1952, performed by Frank Sinatra
    Frank Sinatra
    Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...


External links

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