Paul Galdone greeting card illustrations donated to NCLC

Ms. A. Siegel of Illinois has donated four illustrations for greeting cards created in the 1960s by Paul Galdone. Galdone was born in 1907 in Budapest, Austria-Hungary and immigrated to the United States in 1921. He studied art at the Art Student’s League and New York School for Industrial Design. After serving in World War II in the U.S. Army, Engineers, the author and illustrator of children’s books worked as a bus boy, electrician’s helper, and fur dryer, in addition to four years in the art department at Doubleday (NY). His work was awarded runner-up for the Caldecott Medal (Eve Titus, Anatole, 1957 and Anatole and the Cat, 1958) and was selected by the American Library Association for its Notable Books program (The Little Red Hen, Winter Danger, and Flaming Arrows). He died of a heart attack on 7 November 1986, in Nyack, NY.


August 2011 Item of the Month: Indigenous People Artists’ Books at the Dodd Center


Artists’ books have been around for a long time. Beautiful objects of art where all aspects of book making are explored and cherished: the inks, the fonts, the papers, the wrappings, the construction materials, the techniques (collages, 3-D, woodblock printing), etc. A tradition started in Europe at the end of the 18th century, today this is a worldwide phenomenon and indigenous peoples from all around the world are using their traditional practices to create artists’ books that blend the traditional with the modern, and the uniquely indigenous with other country’s traditions in bookmaking, printmaking and papermaking.

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center’s Archives and Special Collection have an extensive collection of Artists’ Books from around the world but it wasn’t until recently that we started acquiring books created by indigenous people either in their own workshops or in collaboration with non-indigenous artists. Featured in this Item of the Month is the works of Taller Leñateros, located in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and TALLERCONTIL from Matagalpa, Nicaragua in collaboration with artist and printer Eckhard Froeschlin from Germany.

Taller Leñateros describes itself as:

“A publishing collective operated by contemporary Mayan artists in Chiapas, Mexico. Founded in 1975 by poet Ámbar Past, the Workshop has created the first books to be written, illustrated, printed, bound (in paper of their own making) by Mayan people in over 400 years. Among its multiple objectives are those of documentation, praise and dissemination of Amerindian cultural values: song, literature, plastic arts, and the ancient Mesoamerican tradition of painted books.

The Leñateros’ rescue of old and endangered techniques such as the extraction of dyes from wild plants, contributes to the conservation of Native American languages, and benefits the ecology by recycling agricultural and industrial wastes, transforming them into art and beautiful books.” (1)

TALLERCONTIL was established in 1998 in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Edition Schwarze Seite, who published their works, reported in their literature and I quote from the Vamp and Tramp Bookseller website:

“The idea for this project came during a visit to the theater artist Pablo Pupiro and Ernesto Soto in 1997 in Wuppertal [Germany]. It has since been promoted within the framework of the partnership with the city of Matagalpa / Wuppertal. During the first graphic workshops in 1998, a group formed that has since been renamed as “TallerContil.” Participants and group members are not professional visual artists, but interested and talented people from other, and sometimes with several professions: theater people, teachers, agricultural technicians, mechanics, students.

“Based on personal contacts and the Wuppertal-Matagalpa city sisterhood, the project started with woodcut printing under the poorest circumstances. Now, the project group TALLERCONTIL owns an etching press and a Hollander beater, both built in Matagalpa. The studio has advanced to producing etchings, single-sheet book art, unique books and a mould- made paper production.” (2)

Indigenous artist’s books are not only enjoyable as pieces of art but they can be studied to understand indigenous techniques applied to the creation of these books. The study of these objects offers an opportunity to see the ways that indigenous people adapt their techniques with other culture’s printing techniques, and how collaboration emerge between them and artists from Germany, the United States or Japan. But beyond looking as these objects as works of art, studying these artist’s books allow social scientists to introduce students to concepts such as globalization–these objects are created for the world market not the local economy; indigenous empowerment–indigenous women participate in these workshops as a different way to earn money and self-esteem; and language preservation, since indigenous languages such as Mayan are used for the short stories and poems printed in these books.

We invite you to come and visit the Dodd Center for a closer look to these amazing books.

Marisol Ramos, Curator for Latin American and Caribbean Collections

Resources Cited

(1) Taller Leñateros: About Us,

(2) Description of Wuppertal / Matagalpa Project Bookworks at the Vamp and Tramp Bookseller website,

Links of Resources

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center’s Artists’ Books Collection,

The Woodlanders’ Gazette (Summer 2007), Taller Leñateros, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. This newsletter includes images and an audio clip with a sample of the songs of the Bolom Chon that are included in the CD that accompanied the book,

Graphic Arts Exhibitions, acquisitions, and other highlights from the Graphic Arts Collection, Princeton University Library (Blog) Entry on Edition Schwarze Seite,

Anne Buessow and Eckhard Froeschlin Website (in German),

For a history of Artist’s Books check this article from the Yale University Library, Special Collection,

December 2010 Item of the Month

Moon Bear (Title page illustration)

Ed Young, a children’s book author/illustrator and winner of many prestigious awards including a Caldecott Medal for Lon Po Po:  a Red Riding-Hood Story from China, two Caldecott Honor Awards, and two nominations for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, has added to his Papers held in the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection.  Mr. Young was born in Tientsin, China and raised in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where he was interested in drawing and storytelling from an early age.  He moved to the U.S. in 1951 to study architecture but quickly changed his focus to art.  Mr. Young has illustrated over eighty books, many of which he also wrote. 

The 19 beautiful collage illustrations for his 2010 book, Moon Bear, written by Brenda Z. Guiberson and published by Henry Holt, are new to the NCLC and were deposited following his recent appearance at the 19th Annual Connecticut Children’s Book Fair.  Moon Bear is the story of one moon bear, or Asiatic black bear, as she goes through the annual cycle of hibernation, awakening, foraging, and procreation.   In the author’s note, Ms. Guiberson describes the tragic plight of thousands of Asiatic black bears who are imprisoned in tiny cages on bear farms throughout Asia.  For over 3,000 years bears were hunted in Asia for their gall bladders and bile, thought to cure disease.  Laws enacted in the 1980’s took steps to ban bear hunting but wild bears are still caught and farmed.  

Moon Bear (pg. 6/7 illustration)

Several organizations are working to create sanctuaries where sick bears can be treated and rehabilitated, such as Animals Asia Moon Bear Rescue Center in China.  For more information, go to  A portion of the proceeds of each book is donated to this worthwhile organization devoted to ending animal cruelty and restoring respect for animals throughout Asia.  Mr. Young says in his dedication:  “To Integrity, ‘the Spiritual Bear,’ so that we may reclaim green humanity lost to unharnessed ‘wants’ disguised as our needs.”

Terri J. Goldich, Curator, Northeast Children’s Literature Collection