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Curious George Fund Provides Financial Support

Thanks to the generosity of the H.A. and Margret Rey estate, the de Grummond Collection recently received $50,000 to provide support for scholarly work, research, and preservation efforts in conjunction with materials in the Rey archive. After Mrs. Rey's death in 1996, longtime friend Lay Lee Ong established a management fund with the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston called the H.A. and Margret Rey Curious George Fund. Ms. Ong, coexecutor of the Rey estate and a trustee of the Curious George Foundation, felt quite strongly that this monetary support was necessary, given that the Rey archive is housed at the de Grummond Collection and requires special care and attention. We are very grateful to Ms. Ong for her part in providing this extraordinary gift to the de Grummond Collection.

The Reys first donated materials to the de Grummond Collection in 1966, after receiving a letter from Collection

Margret and H. A. Rey on a book tour
to promote Spotty in 1958

founder, Lena de Grummond. That first gift contained a rough sketch and a press sheet from Curious George Goes to the Hospital, as well as photographs and biographical information. In 1972, the Rey collection was expanded with an original drawing from Curious George. Published books in a variety of languages followed in the next several years.

In February 1990, an extensive grouping of sketches, drawings, and color separations was received. Included were original drawings from Zebrology, Tit for Tat, Katy No-Pocket, Billy's Picture, We Three Kings and Other Christmas Carols, and See the Circus. Pen and ink drawings with color-separated overlays for Curious George, Curious George Takes a Job, Curious George Gets a Medal, Curious George Goes to the Hospital, Curious George Learns the Alphabet, Curious George Rides a Bike, and Curious George Flies a Kite give a glimpse into the production phase of bookmaking. Sketches and finished artwork for a number of unpublished works including "Nonsense ABC," "La Rue," "Der Schlangentoter," "O Vegetariano Convertido," and "Whiteblack the Penguin Sees the World" were also in the donation.

Mrs. Rey died in 1996, bequeathing her literary archive to the de Grummond Collection. This newest installment to the growing Rey collection included all of the surviving original illustrations created for Curious George as well as sketches, illustrations, dummies, and color separations for the other six Curious George titles -- Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, Elizabite, Find the Constellations, Look for the Letters, and The Stars. Extensive publisher correspondence and contracts give an excellent picture of the relationship between the Reys and their editors. (For more information on the details of this contribution, please see previous issues of this newsletter.)

A number of researchers have already utilized this important archive, and we expect several projects to reach fruition in the next few years. The funding from the Rey estate will allow us to undertake projects that will benefit future researchers. One of the most important efforts is the translation into English of hundreds of documents in German, Portugese, French, and Russian. As time allows, we will transfer a number of taped interviews to a more permanent CD-ROM format.

The Rey Archive is a vitally important resource in the study of children's literature, and we are fortunate that the $50,000 endowment from the H.A. and Margret Rey Curious George Fund will guarantee its accessibility to researchers and its preservation for future generations.

A complementary effort is the arrangement and description of the entire Rey Archive. This will be made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded to the de Grummond Collection. Details of the grant can be found in this issue.

 

Contact:
The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Box 5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-4349
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