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Beverly Cleary letter to Lois Darling

This spring the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art launches an exhibit of the work of illustrator Louis Darling, Louis Darling: Drawing the Words of Beverly Cleary. While preparing the exhibit, curator (and Caldecott Honoree, thank you very much!) Tony DiTerlizzi found the following letter from Beverly Cleary to Darling’s widow, Lois, with a Horn Book shout-out! Read DiTerlizzi’s Horn Book Magazine article on Beverly Cleary and Louis Darling here.

Letter (circa late 1970s/early 1980s) from Beverly Cleary to Lois Darling, widow of illustrator Louis Darling. Used with permission of Beverly Cleary and The Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections.

Letter (circa late 1970s/early 1980s) from Beverly Cleary to Lois Darling, widow of illustrator Louis Darling. Used with permission of Beverly Cleary and The Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota Libraries Archives and Special Collections. See below for transcription.

Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary! For more, click the tag Beverly Cleary at 100 and read the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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Scarcely a day goes by without a child mentioning in a letter his love of Louis’s illustrations for my books, and I do hope you will send some of them to the Kerlan Collection. I agree that there are enough to spread around, but I would like to see some placed where they will be both properly stored and made easily available for classes of children to see.

I send copies of my foreign editions to the Kerlan and have found the librarian prompt in sending a statement of appraised value for income tax purposes. I did send a faircopy, the one that goes to the printer, just so they would have something to show children, but of course this has no real value. The IRS does not allow deductions for any manuscript donations. I do not know the rules on art but imagine they are more generous. The Kerlan also accepts material on indefinite loan that postpones the actual giving until the day the IRS may change its rules.

This brings me to a subject that crosses my mind from time to time—my letters to Louis. I wonder if they have been kept and if some journal, perhaps The Horn Book, would be interested in an author-illustrator correspondence. Ours, I feel, was unusual in that we enjoyed working together—or perhaps journal would be more interested in authors and artists who didn’t get along! Anyway, I would like to see both sides of the correspondence kept together and if you could see your way clear to returning the letters if you have them, I would be happy to go through my files, pull Louis’s letters, see if they might be publishable and then forward the collection to the Kerlan on indefinite loan.

I am so glad to hear that analysis has helped you. After seeing several close friends lose their husbands, I have some understanding of what you have gone through. I appreciate your wanting to keep the illustrations of RUNAWAY RALPH in the East. Everytime I look at it I am touched that this is the only book in which Louis initialed each illustration. I have always been so grateful that he arranged his work so that the book could be published with his illustration, one for each chapter, even though he was not able to do as many as usual.

Sincerely,

c. to Connie Epstein

P.S. Incase you are interested, the address of the Kerlan Collection is:

Dr. Karen Nelson Hoyle, Curator
Children’s Literature Research Collection
109 Walter Library
University Libraries
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

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