An American author of historical novels, he is perhaps best known for Drums Along the Mohawk, a work that focuses on the lives of American Revolutionary-era settlers in New York. His other works include Chad Hanna, The Big Barn, and Erie Water.
He graduated from Harvard University in 1926. He published his debut novel, Rome Haul, three years later.
His numerous literary awards include the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, the Newbery Medal, and the National Book Award for Children's Literature.
He grew up in Boonville, New York. He married Katherine Howe Baker Carr in 1956.
His novel, Drums Along the Mohawk, was made into a film directed by John Ford.