Virginia Esther Hamilton was born, as she said, “on the outer edge of the Great Depression,” on March 12, 1934. The youngest of five children of Kenneth James and Etta Belle Perry Hamilton, Virginia grew up amid a large extended family in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The farmlands of southwestern Ohio had been home to her mother’s family since the late 1850s, when Virginia’s grandfather, Levi Perry, was brought into the state as an infant via the Underground Railroad.
It was also in New York that Virginia met poet Arnold Adoff. They were married in 1960. Arnold worked as a teacher, and Virginia was able to devote her full attention to writing until her two children came along. In 1969, Virginia and Arnold built their “dream home” in Yellow Springs, on the last remaining acres of the old Hamilton/Perry family farm, and settled into a life of serious literary work and achievement.
She continued to write, travel and lecture, spending time with her son Jaime in New York City and daughter Leigh in Berlin, Germany.
Virginia Hamilton died of breast cancer on Feb. 19, 2002.