Daily Archives: September 10, 2008

Maurice Sendak at 80

I was fortunate enough to hear Maurice Sendak in conversation with Gregory Maguire several years ago at a CLNE institute.  And while I wasn’t there in person I did view the video of his talk, “Descent into Limbo,”  the same year at M.I.T. Now as part of the celebration of his 80th year the New York Times is profiling him. Maurice Sendak’s Concerns, Beyond Where the Wild Things Are – NYTimes.com

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Wall Stories: Children’s Wallpaper and Books

Wall Stories: Children’s Wallpaper and Books, will be at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum here in New York October 3rd -April 5th. Here is the description from their website and you can see a few images from the exhibit here. (I’m going for sure and may even take my class if it is up their alley. Our school is just a couple of blocks away.)

What do Cinderella, Peter Rabbit, Popeye, Mickey Mouse and Goofy, Winnie-the-Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Pinocchio have in common? They are among the dozens of beloved children’s story characters that can be found in Wall Stories: Children’s Wallpaper and Books, an exhibition which plumbs the holdings of Cooper-Hewitt’s Wallcoverings department—the largest such collection in the United States, with more than ten thousand objects dating from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries—and the Museum’s 70,000-volume National Design Library.

In the nineteenth century, profound social and economic changes led to the increased popularity of books and wallpaper produced specifically for children. Increased literacy; the establishment of public schools, child-welfare agencies, and child-labor laws; the practice of pediatrics as a medical specialty; and the growth of literature targeted specifically for children helped create an unprecedented awareness in society of the value of childhood. As the Industrial Revolution helped create a wealthy middle class, families lived in larger homes and, consequently, gave children their own rooms. Technological advances in printing and an influx of talented writers and illustrators made children’s books and wallpaper more available to parents who wanted to furnish and decorate their children’s rooms. All of these disparate phenomena helped bring children’s books and wallpaper together, and the two have shared an intimate bond which has lasted from the 1870s up to the present day. In tracing their evolution, Wall Stories also chronicles the birth and development of the nursery and helps us make sense of the past and present of children’s entertainment.


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