Parker Hoysted Fillmore was born on Sept. 21, 1878, in Cincinnati, Ohio. After receiving a degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1901, Fillmore traveled to the Philippines to work as a teacher. Upon arrival, Fillmore discovered that he had not been provided with any textbooks. He was forced to improvise. To teach his students English, he began making up stories about Philippine life. The stories were a great success, and the children learned English quickly. When Fillmore returned to the United States, he was invited to write a textbook especially for Philippine children. This book launched his career as a writer.
During World War I (1914–18), Fillmore settled in New York City in a neighborhood with a large number of immigrants from Czechoslovakia. His neighbors introduced him to the folktales of their homeland, which inspired Fillmore to write several books based on the tales. These books included Czechoslovak Fairy Tales and Folk Tales (1919) and The Shoemaker’s Apron (1920).
Fillmore had been interested in Finnish folklore as a boy. As an established writer, he revived this interest and published several volumes of stories based on Finnish tales. These books included Mighty Mikko (1922) and The Wizard of the North (1923). Fillmore died on June 5, 1944, in Amherst, Va.