March 17th is widely celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day but it also happens to be the birthday of notable childrens’ book illustrator Kate Greenaway. Born in London in 1846, she studied art at various schools, such as the Heatherley School of Fine Art, and began her career in watercolors and cards. She was a contemporary or Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott and good friend to Victorian art critic John Ruskin.
Over the past several weeks, I explored the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Design Museum Library’s collection of illustrated children’s books…
Did you know that the National Air and Space Museum Library (NASM) collects historical children's books on aeronautical themes? Yes, there are picture books and juvenile readers about balloons and planes and pilots nestled on the same shelves with highly technical manuals on rocketry and legal documents about the inventions of the Wright brothers, amid the other treasures of the Ramsey Room. And why not? Looking at children's books, you can see how quickly interest in aeronautical inventions spread among the American public. For the young readers of these books, flying was not just an adventure or a novel way to travel, but a new profession that they could realistically hope to enter someday. They could imagine themselves to be inventors, or pilots, or intrepid world travelers, and if they were hard-working, smart, and resourceful they could even succeed and prosper in this exciting new age. This entrepreneurial spirit was embodied by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, an agency that specialized in commissioning and ghost-writing mystery and adventure stories for children in the first more »