Catherine Woolley was born in Chicago to Edward Mott and Anna Lazelle (Thayer) Woolley. She grew up in Passaic, New Jersey where her father was a newspaperman. After first attending Barnard College in New York, Ms. Woolley earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1927.
After college, she worked as an editor and public relations writer in New York returning to her parents' home in Passaic in the 1930s during the Great Depression. A prolific writer of over eighty books, Ms. Woolley published so many children's books that her publisher recommended using a pen name for some of her works. She chose the name, Jane Thayer - her grandmother's name - which she used for the many picture books she wrote. In the early 1960s, Ms. Woolley moved to Truro, Massachusetts where she wrote book after book on an old Remington typewriter.
Ms. Woolley was an easily recognized figure at writing and book events in Truro. She helped start a book club, worked with the Friends of the Truro Library, taught at writing workshops, and held story hours at the library. The children's room in the Truro library is named after Catherine Woolley. Though never having had children of her own, Ms. Woolley had a special gift for communicating to her young readers. Her works have been and continue to be enjoyed by many generations. Parents today have the joy of sharing the books of Catherine Woolley with their own children.