I recently had the epiphany that a great number of 20th-century author-illustrators (chiefly of children’s books) have Massachusetts connections. Not only that, but many of them have some sort of landmark in the Commonwealth. So here’s a tour of seven author-illustrators
Eric Carle – The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – Amherst, MA
The creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar lived in Northampton, MA for more than 30 years and this unique museum of picture book art is located in nearby Amherst.
Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) – Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden – Springfield, MA
Geisel was born in Springfield, immortalizing that city’s Mulberry Street in the book And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street!
Edward Gorey – The Edward Gorey House - Yarmouth Port, MA
The only artist in this list not associated with children’s books, although that doesn’t mean children can’t read them. The Gashlycrumb Tinies would make a good bedtime story. The Cape Cod house where he lived his later years is now a museum.
Robert McCloskey – Make Way For Ducklings statues – Boston, MA
McCloskey studied at the Vesper George Art School in Boston in the 1930s and the time spent in the Public Garden feeding the ducklings inspired his creation of Make Way For Ducklings. The book is now the official children’s book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Nancy Schön’s statues in the Public Garden are always a hit with children.
H.A. Rey & Margret Rey – The Curious George Store – Cambridge, MA
The creators of Curious George moved to Cambridge in 1963 and nearby their former home in Harvard Square is the location of the world’s only Curious George store.
Richard Scarry – Boston, MA
Scarry was born in Boston in 1919, which may have been the inspiration for Busytown and notoriously bad driving of Scarry’s characters. Sadly, I haven’t been able to locate a landmark for Scarry in Boston, but here’s an entertaining literary travel story.
I’ve personally only been to the Boston and Cambridge sites on this list, but a wider tour of the Commonwealth is on order.