Henry Maurice Saxby received a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Sydney in 1954, and a Master of Education in 1967. He served in the Australian Imperial Forces from 1943 to 1946. He was a teacher with the New South Wales Department of Education (1950-1956), a lecturer with the New South Wales State Teachers' Colleges (1957-1972) and Professor and Head of the English Department at Kuring-gai College of Advanced Education (1973-1985).
Saxby was the first national president of the Children's Book Council of Australia and was subsequently made a life member of that organisation. He promoted the introduction of courses in children's literature in academic institutions and lectured on the subject in Britain, Germany, Canada and the United States.
Saxby's many honours included 'Member in the Order of Australia (AM); the Pixie O’Harris award for distinguished service to children’s books by the Children’s Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishers’ Association; a Doctor of Letters from the University of Sydney for his unwavering dedication to Australian children’s literature; life membership of the Primary English Teaching Association Australia for his influence and contribution to the teaching of English in Australia; the Lady Cutler Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature in New South Wales from the CBCA NSW; a Citation and the Nan Chauncy Award from the CBCA and the Dromkeen Medal' (J. Mylee, 'Vale Dr Maurice Saxby', 3 December 2014).
Saxby was recognised internationally as an authority on children's literature and on Australian children's writing in particular.