A display of drawings, manuscripts, books, and other materials
documenting the life and work of H. A. and Margret Rey is
on view at the de Grummond Collection from September 1, 1999,
through April 30, 2000. Curious George Comes to Hattiesburg:
The Life and Work of H. A. and Margret Rey explores the
couple's contributions to the history of twentieth-century
children's literature. Among the 400 illustrations, manuscripts,
photographs, diaries, letters, books, pottery, and needlepoint
on display are the original illustrations for Curious George,
published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941. These illustrations
were among the few possessions that the Reys were able to
bring with them to the United States when they fled the Nazi
invasion of Paris in 1940.
focuses on numerous facets of the Reys' creative life. Their
career in children's books began with the publication of Le
Zoo and Le Cirque by Hachette, a Paris publisher.
Several other books were also published in Paris and England
before they immigrated to the United States. Curious George
was published in the United States shortly after their arrival,
and the rest is history. There would be another six Curious
George titles published during H. A. Rey's lifetime. Other
popular characters created by the Reys are Spotty, Katy No-Pocket,
Pretzel, and Cecily G.
of the exhibit are a rare copy of Rafi et les 9 Singes,
their first children's book published in France; the original
illustrations for Zebrology, Rey's first book in English;
and products of the Reys' Brazilian advertising company, including
posters, greeting cards, and direct mail advertisements. Personal
items include diaries, photograph albums, correspondence between
the Reys, and drawings of H. A. by Margret. On display are
the annual New Year's cards designed by the Reys and sent
to their family and friends from 1940 to 1976.
in the exhibit are exceptional examples of unpublished manuscripts
and illustrations. There is an illustrated pencil manuscript
for a story about Curious George and Randolph, Cecily G.'s
brother giraffe. Whiteblack the Penguin Sees the World
is a full-color picture book with hand-lettered text.
creativity was not limited to the production of children's
books. She was an accomplished photographer, potter, and needlewoman.
Examples of her photographs, pottery, and needlepoint are
among the items on display.
and H. A. Rey were both born in Hamburg, Germany, H. A. in
1898 and Margret in 1906. Because of the economic conditions
of prewar Germany and Hitler's rising popularity, they individually
immigrated to Brazil, where they became reacquainted in 1935.
Married shortly thereafter, they departed for a two-week Parisian
honeymoon that turned into a four-year stay. Forced to flee
Paris in 1940 because of the Nazi occupation of France, they
eventually made their home in New York City, later moving
to Cambridge, Massachusetts. After forty-two creative and
happy years together, H. A. died in 1977 at the age of 79.
Margret continued their work, overseeing the production of
a new series of Curious George books. Shortly after
celebrating her 90th birthday, Margret died in
in Curious George Comes to Hattiesburg are drawn from
the holdings of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection.
The Reys were among the first authors and illustrators to
entrust their manuscripts and illustrations to the Collection
in 1966. Contributions continued over the next twenty years,
and, upon Margret's death, their entire literary archive was
willed to the de Grummond Collection.
and public programming are funded in part by the National
Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities
Council, the Hattiesburg Arts Council, The University of Southern
Mississippi Foundation, and Houghton Mifflin Company. An exhibition
catalog is available, and more information can be obtained
by calling 601-266-4349 or by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.