Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams III was born on March 26, 1911 to Edwina (née Dakin) and Cornelius Coffin (C.C.) Williams in Columbus, Mississippi. His father was a salesman and a drinker, his mother a music teacher and a southern belle, and his grandfather, local Episcopal priest. His was the middle child, the second of three children.
When Tennessee was eight they moved to Missouri because his father was promoted to a position at the home office. He showed a gift for writing even at a young age with essays which he wrote in high school which was published entitled “Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?” Soon he entered in contests for writing and sport, looking to make extra money. In August of 1928 he had a short story published in Weird Tales.
He attended University of Missouri, in Columbia, where he majored in journalism. He was still more interested in writing short stories, poetry, and essays and entering in contests. He tried joining a fraternity, but still was not that interested in college as much as he was interested in entering in writing contests. He even tried joining the military; soon his father pulled him out of school. Tennessee ended working for his father’s company, selling shoes at the International Shoe Company. Life at the shoe company wasn’t much better. It was the monotony and the drudgery. So Tennessee did the only thing he could think of doing, he sat down at his typewriter and wrote A Street Car Named Desire.
By 1936, he was ready to go back to college and enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis and then he went to the University of Iowa and graduated with a degree in English. In 1939, Tennessee Williams officially took on the name Tennessee Williams. Dramatics became his next interest.
Tennessee did many odd jobs between then and when he graduated where obviously he was also writing. In 1940 he was able to get a grant to put on his first play Battle of Angels in 1940 in Boston. The Glass Menagerie was produced on stage between 1944 and 1945. In 1947 A Street Car Named Desire was produced on stage.
Many of the stories he wrote were created around characters of his life growing up and of his family.
Tennessee William passed away in 1983.
But for many of u he is remembered through his works of art, when produced in the theater, on television, or in the movies. Many high school students in the 1980s were reading his works as part of class study. He found his way by constantly writing and entering in contests, and following his hearts’ desire.