Louise Fitzhugh was both a writer and illustrator of children's books, most famous for her Harriet the Spy series. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1928, and lived with her father after her parents divorced when she was an infant. She attended Miss Hutchinson's School in Memphis and studied at numerous universities and art schools, including Bard College and Cooper Union, before graduating from Barnard College in 1950. Following her education, she spent the majority of her life living in New York City, with houses on Long Island and in Connecticut.
Early in her career in 1961, Fitzhugh illustrated the children's book Suzuki Beane, written by author Sandra Scoppettone to be a parody of the celebrated children's book Eloise. She published her own children's novel, Harriet the Spy, in 1964. Harriet the Spy has become a classic of children's literature, and was named to the New York Times Outstanding Book Award list in 1964. Two sequels centered around some of the book's supporting characters followed, called The Long Secret, which deals with female puberty, and Sport, which follows Harriet's best friend Sport. Fitzhugh did many of the illustrations for her own books.
Fitzhugh's characters like Harriet were popular among girls who did not conform to a traditionally feminine stereotype, and Fitzhugh herself was a lesbian. At the time, this was far more controversial than it is today. Fitzhugh had written another young adult manuscript, Amelia, about two girls falling in love, but it was never published and has since been lost.
Fitzhugh died at the premature age of 46 of a brain aneurysm, in the year 1974.