Garth Williams was born in New York on April 16, 1912. Both of his parents were artists.
Around 1912 the family moved to England. He studied painting and sculpturing in London at the Westminster Art School in 1929 and the Royal College of Art from 1931 to 1934. From 1935 to 1936, Williams was headmaster at the Luton Art School. In 1936 he won the prestigious, British Prix de Rome, and went to Rome as a postgraduate scholar.
He illustrated for The New Yorker from 1938 to 1939. From 1939 to 1941 he served in England during the war for the British Red Cross Civilian Defense until a back injury suffered during the London Blitz forced him to resign.
He moved back to the United States in 1941 and was contacted by Harper and Row to illustrate the E.B. White classic, Stuart Little in 1944. The popularity he received helped him to decide that a children's book artist was what he wanted to be. In 1948, Williams, illustrated his first of many Little Golden Books, The Golden Sleepy Book. Though he is well known for his Little Golden Book illustrations he was also known internationally for, Stuart Little (1945), The Little House on the Prairie series from the 1950's and Charlotte's Web (1952).
Toward the end of his life he lived between a home in Texas and one in Guanajuato, Mexico. He died of pneumonia in Mexico on May 8th 1996.