Category Archive: Tidbit Histories

Tidbit Histories – Santa Claus Comes of Age

At 40, a teacher of classical studies named Moore had written little of value.  But, in 1823 he recited a poem as a Christmas gift for his children. Unbeknownst to the author, the poem was transcribed by an enchanted house guest and sent off to a New York newspaper. On December 23, 1823, the Troy …

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Tidbit Histories – Legendary Children’s Editor, May Massee, Discovers Kate Seredy.

Kate Seredy was born in Hungary in the late 19th century into a household filled with books and music. After high school she attended the Academy of Arts in Budapest and spent summers studying in Germany, Italy and France. By her own account she caught the last train for Hungary out of Paris at the …

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Tidbit Histories – Robert McCloskey: The Pied Piper of Hamilton, Ohio.

Robert McCloskey, like the characters in so many of his books, grew up in small town America. Born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio, the young McCloskey filled his days playing piano, harmonica, drums or oboe, or tinkering with found junk creating strange devices, or illustrating various high-school publications. His various talents made it difficult for …

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Tidbit Histories – Huck Finn Garners Caustic Reviews!

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, (See previous Post “Mark Twain Writes Children’s Book by Mistake), Twain’s work based on his own childhood memories, was published in 1876 to enthusiastic but cautious reviews. Sales were slow to pick up which perhaps contributed to Twain taking an additional ten years to complete its sequel. If reviews of …

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Tidbit Histories – Mark Twain Writes Children’s Book by Mistake.

In the summer of 1874 S. L. Clemens began a book based largely on his own childhood in Hannibal, Missouri. After a few weeks, he put the book aside and didn’t return to it until the following summer. He finished it in July of 1875 and only them, after getting friends to read it, did …

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Tidbit Histories – Ruth Sawyer, Storyteller and Children’s Author Extraordinaire

Ruth Sawyer, the last of five children and the only girl, grew up in the late 19th century in a household where, in addition to her family, she had and Irish storytelling nanny who would prove to be strongest influence on her future career. After secondary school, the young Ms Sawyer, enrolled in Garland Kindergarten …

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Tidbit Histories – Literature on the backs of children!?

This is both a Tidbit History and an hommage to one of my very favorite children’s authors. Laura E. Richards was one of three daughters born to Julia Ward Howe. Ms Howe is best known as the author of THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC, but was also an accomplished singer and would sing to …

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Tidbit Histories – The Curious Case of Curious George

A disappointed child, when meeting H. A. Rey and his wife, Margret, pouted, “I thought you were monkeys too.” To gain that much identification with his creation is even more impressive when you consider, Hans Augusto Rey didn’t even create his first Curious George book until he was over 40. Born in Germany in 1898, …

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Tidbit Histories – Horton or Hitler; Which Will It Be?

New Year’s day in 1940 found Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) back as his desk overlooking Park Ave. THE KING’S STILTS had been published the previous year to luke-warm reviews and sluggish sales. On his desk were two unrelated sketches on transparent paper, one of a rather friendly looking elephant and the other of a tree. …

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Tidbit Histories – A Boy and His Fawn: THE YEARLING

In the late 1920s, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her husband, Charles, thought a simpler life than journalism might be just the thing to save their failing marriage, so they bought a 72 acre orange grove at Cross Creek, outside Hawthorn, Florida. The first few years Ms Rawlings tried her hand at both farming and short …

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