John R. TeWinkel graduated from Cornell University in 1938 and received an M.A. from Boston University in 1958. From 1941 to 1942, he taught English in Nanking and Chungking, China, and later taught in Morocco, Greece, and Nigeria, as well as in a number of schools in the United States. He also served in a Friends Ambulance Unit as a medical relief distributor in South China, 1942-1944; and as librarian and transaction clerk in the UN Relief and Rehabilitation
Administration headquarters in Washington, D.C.