Chesterfield NH Historical Society
Chesterfield NH Historical Society

Charles Tazewell

June 2, 1900 - June 26, 1972

Born in Des Moines IA, Charles Tazewell chose to call Chesterfield home. He is best known as a radio playwright, TV scriptwriter, and a children’s book author whose work has been adapted in multiple of mediums. 


In 1939, he wrote his best known piece, “The Littlest Angel” in three days.  It is a heartwarming tale about a little boy’s adjustment to being an angel in heaven and his determination to give a special gift to the Christ Child.  The New York Times Book Review said of the title character:  “As he appears here, for the first time in book form, only the crustiest unbeliever could resist him.  Very young, very unsuited to celestial ways, he was something of a problem angel.”


Tazewell wrote this piece as an unproduced radio script and in 1945 he published it in book form.   It was an instant success and became a Christmas classic.  Soon after it was published, it was read by Helen Hayse on the radio at Christmas.  By the time of his death in 1972, the “Littlest Angel” was in its 38th printing and had been translated into many languages.  It was first published by Coronet Magazine and then appeared on records, one narrated by Loretta Young in 1950.  At the same time, a semi-animated version of the story was produced by Coronet Films and widely distributed in 16mm for church and school viewings.  In 1969 it was made into a musical TV drama for Hallmark Hall of Fame. 


He also wrote “The Small One”, a tale about a little donkey who was destined to the tanner but because of the love of a small boy, ended up carrying Mary to Bethlehem.  This was adapted by Walt Disney Company in 1978 into an animated short.  His “The Littlest Snowman” won the Thomas A. Edison Prize for best children’s story of 1956.  Also, it was adapted as a film, and a shorter version was read on the TV show “Captain Kangaroo”.


Charles Tazewell began his career as an actor.  He acted professionally while still in high school.  He appeared on Broadway in “They Knew What They Wanted” (1924), “Lucky Sam McCarver” (1925) and in the musical “Sugar Hill” (1931).  In his later life, he founded the Brattleboro Little Theater and operated it for 18 years. 


He died at his home in Chesterfield on June 27, 1972, leaving behind his wife, Louise (Skinner).  He is buried at the Lindenwood Cemetery in Stoneham, MA. 

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