Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, William Rose Benét graduated from Yale University in 1907. The brother of poet and novelist Stephen Vincent Benét and the husband of poet Elinor Wylie, William Benét helped found and edit the Saturday Review of Literature. He authored several collections of poetry, including Merchants from Cathay (1913), The Great White Wall (1916), and A Man Possessed (1927), as well as a novel and a volume of essays. He won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for the autobiographical The Dust Which is God in 1942. A well-known literary editor of his day, Benét also produced The Reader’s Encyclopedia (1948), designed to guide readers through the “vocabulary and allusiveness of writers as well as provide them with a genuine source book of ideas.” He also participated in the MacDowell Colony, an artists’ collective in New Hampshire.