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Crockett Johnson Homepage: News

Search List last updated on 11 February 2008.

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1998: July | Aug. | Sept. | Oct. | Nov. | Dec.

                           


On this page, you'll find information about any upcoming events related to Crockett Johnson, significant changes to this website, and (possibly) the occasional query -- though, in general, requests for information can be found on the Search List. Know of anything that should be here? Drop me a line at philnel@ksu.edu. Thanks.

                           

Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature13 Aug. 2012: Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature is now available. 88 illustrations. Cover by Chris Ware. Check it out!

2011 was a busy year. On my my blog, posts tagged biography shared information about my forthcoming biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss (September 2012). Posts tagged Crockett Johnson or Ruth Krauss may also have included biographical information. The blog was also the location for sharing information about another project, forthcoming at about the same time: The Complete Barnaby Vol. 1. I'm serving as a co-editor on that project. It's the first of a 5-volume series that will collect all of Barnaby in its original run (1942-1952). I also post about Barnaby on the blog. In sum, the blog has become the most up-to-date resource for Crockett Johnson info. I did add my Comic Art essay to this website (see the biography), early in the summer. But that's about all.

22 Aug. 2010: Bio update. Revisions are (I hope) complete; still await a few permissions. Also, as promised last month, I have been sharing tidbits about Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss on my blog.

30 July 2010: Bio update: received reader's report on bio. It's very positive -- quite possibly the best reader's report I've ever received. That said, the reader also recommends cuts. And so (sigh), there's more work yet to be done. My hope is that the end result (leaner, less boring bits) will be more enjoyable to the reading public (that's you!). Also: I nearly have all image rights sorted out. By my count, I have permission for 82 of 89 images. Getting close! Finally, I have started a blog, which I've named for a line in Harold and the Purple Crayon. As we move toward the publication date (2012), I will begin to post exercpts from the book. These pieces will be small (less than 1000 words). However, I am also planning to use the blog to publish sections of the book that I've had to cut. If you'd like to be informed of new blog postings, please follow me on Twitter. So that you can find the stuff that interests you most, I'll tag Twitter posts and blog posts with #crockettjohnson or #ruthkrauss (on Twitter) and Crockett Johnson or Ruth Krauss (on the blog).

29 May 2010: Bio. update: finished fourth round of revisions late last night. Am hoping press will let me send it in before I've finished sorting out all the permissions (for images). I've done some of them, but permissions tend to drag on. Some people respond promptly, others don't. And in other cases, the rights holder isn't who you'd think it would be. And so on. Lot of logistical work. Still, though: The entire manuscript is done: intro., 30 chapters, epilogue, notes, acknowledgments, appendices, bibliography. So, we're very nearly there!

21 May 2010: I don't usually use this website to make appeals for causes, but I am doing so now. Please sign this petition to protest drastic cutbacks to the Queens Public Library. Here are three reasons why you should:

1) Crockett Johnson grew up in Corona, Queens. Indeed, his childhood home is right next door to the Corona branch of the Queens Public Library.

Corona library and Johnson's childhood home
At left, the back side of the Corona branch of the Queens Public Lirbary. Directly to its right is the house in which Crockett Johnson grew up. (Image from GoogleMaps.)

2) The Long Island History Divsion, in the main branch of the Queens Public Library, made possible much of my biographical research for Johnson's early years. I could not have reconstructed his childhood without them.

3) To quote Harold's ABC (1963), "To get very far he was going to need a lot of words.  B is for Books.  He could find plenty of words in a pile of big books.  He was ready for anything."

7 May 2010: A couple of days ago, I created Facebook groups for Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss. If you're on Facebook, I invite you to join.

8 Mar. 2010: As this chapter of the U.S. health care debate may (at last?) be drawing to a close, The Crockett Johnson Homepage presents a glimpse of the U.S. health care debate in 1946: The Physicians Forum's For the People's Health, illustrated by Crockett Johnson. You'll note many similarities between the arguments then and the arguments now.

26 Feb. 2010: The good news is that I finished a complete draft of the biography last year. I'm currently well into my third revision of said biography. The main part of this process has been re-reading all interview files -- and "interview files" here is my shorthand for all alphabetical files on people (Ad Reinhardt died before I was born, but I do have a file on him). The goals are both fact-checking and making sure that I've not omitted anything important. I'm also making a lot of progress on images -- I'm responsible for obtaining all rights to reproduce images.

And, the not-exactly "good" news that will nonetheless help me improve the book: I received today my editor's diligent, thoughtful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. I have much revision to do. I'm working in a genre (biography) I've never worked in before. In the process, I've grown as a scholar and a writer. I truly believe that this will be my best book to date. On the other hand (as my editor's email reminds me), I have much to learn and "best" is at this point purely aspirational. So. Onwards!

13 Nov. 2009: Lane Smith and Bob Shea's new (and fun!) blog Curious Pages: Recommended Inappropriate Books for Kids is well worth your while. Here's their description of the blog: "LOOKING FOR BOOKS ABOUT TEDDY BEARS OR RAINBOWS OR FEELINGS? YOU’RE AT THE WRONG PLACE. HERE WE CELEBRATE THE OFFBEAT, THE ABSTRACT, THE UNUSUAL, THE SURREAL, THE MACABRE, THE INAPPROPRIATE, THE SUBVERSIVE AND THE FUNKY." The reason I'm mentioning it here is last month's post on The Carrot Seed, which includes remakrs on How to Make an Earthquake and Johnson's style. Oh, and it includes images from both books. And a pleasntly wry sense of humor.

You might also enjoy their recent post on Ruth Krauss and Remy Charlip's A Moon or a Button. I did.

30 Oct. 2009: The Mathematics Division of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has created an on-line exhibit of its eighty Crockett Johnson's paintings. I've added a link to the Crockett Johnson's Paintings page.

27 Oct. 2009: The September 2009 issue of Math Horizons has a cover story on Johnson's art. I've added the cover of the journal to the Crockett Johnson's Paintings page.

23 Oct. 2009: Why not celebrate Crockett Johnson's 103rd birthday a few days late, by checking out the artwork for the 1967 edition of the Mickey's Magnet book and record? Thanks to Chris Ware, these items are both now on the site.

20 Oct. 2009: Another biography update. I have a complete draft of 29 out of 30 chapters. From the preface through chapter 28, and chapter 30 are all done. Working on Chapter 29. Nearly there!

29 Sept. 2009: Biography update. I have a complete draft of 28 out of 30 chapters. The two chapters currently in progress are Chapter 27, which covers the years 1971-1974, and Chapter 29, which covers 1976-1988 (Ruth Krauss's final years are being covered in less detail). Looking over the entries below, I see that I once thought this would be 23 chapters. It's definitely going to be 30. In manuscript form, each chapter runs 20 pages or less -- usually between 16 and 19 pages, but one or two run shorter than that. There's still much to do: re-reading all 80-something interviews (to see if I've left anything important out), adding anything important I've left out, editing the manuscript, cleaning up the citations, creating a bibliography, gathering images, gaining permission to use said images. But I'm closing in on the end here. Current plan is to turn it in Dec. 15th. Should I meet that deadline, then I think we might expect the book to appear in 2011. Thanks, as ever, for your patience.

8 June 2009:

  1. Added, belatedly, a few more names to the Thanks page.
  2. Would also, belatedly, like to call your attention to Harold and the Purple Crayon's #7 showing on Elizabeth Bird's School Library Journal Blog's Top 100 Picture Books. Lots of fun Harold links there.
  3. Finally, a biography update for all of you patient people out there. During the spring term, I managed to write 120 paragraphs, give or take. Some of these paragraphs will be thrown out, of course. Likewise, all will need revision. But this is to say that I remain on the case. I'm currently writing about Ruth Krauss's poetry career (because this is a biography of both Johnson and Krauss). After I finish, I'm going to integrate that material into what I already have, and (a) revise the 1956-1993 section very thoroughly, (b) determine what still needs to be added to this section, and (c) commence adding it. My goal is to finish this by summer's end. So, feel free to bug me in August for updates. (FYI: I'm also working on one other major project, along with some smaller ones.) Thanks for bearing with me.

4 Jan. 2009: Update on Journal of Mathematics and the Arts 2.2 (June 2008). The journal has now also set up a special rate for the print edition of the issue containing the article. The rate is $15; there is an order form available at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/spissue/tmaa-si.asp.

18 Nov. 2008: Excellent news: J. B. Stroud's "Crockett Johnson's geometric paintings,"is now out, in the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts 2.2 (June 2008), pp. 77-99. Clicking on the article's title in the previous sentence will lead you to a website where you can purchase the article. I've also added the cover of the journal to the Crockett Johnson's Paintings page of the Crockett Johnson Homepage. If you've ever wanted to make sense of Johnson's paintings (or if you've wanted photographs of them), this is what you've been looking for. I don't know if the pdf of the journal includes the 11 full-color photographs that are in the journal, but I expect that it would. (The journal includes 17 black-and-white photos in the article itself; at the back of the journal, it includes an additional 11 full-color photos.)

11 Nov. 2008: Five pieces of news....

  1. Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature, edited by Julia Mickenberg and yours truly, is out from New York University Press. The cover uses an image from a 1937 New Masses cover created by Crockett Johnson.
  2. Kevin Cannon's Blotchmen, an inspired mash-up of Moore and Gibbons' Watchmen, Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are.
  3. Maggie Thompson's Beautiful Balloons blog, which features some Barnaby strips on Nov. 3 & 4. Thanks to Bill Slankard for alerting me to this one!
  4. Old news (from Sept.): Getting a Life, in which I account for my (slow) progress on the biography. The link will take you to a rather infrequently updated blog.
  5. Older news (from June): Rebecca Rouse's Harold and the Purple Crayon (on YouTube), a triumphalist tribute to Johnson's classic -- she describes it as "a glitter rock homage." It's fun!

24 Aug. 2008: O'Malley appears in The Wavy Rule, a Daily Comic By Paul Morris: Our Man O'Malley (on the Emdashes website, 22 Aug 2008).

21 Aug. 2008:

  1. A Belated Happy Birthday to The Crockett Johnson Homepage, which turned 10 -- that's right, 10! -- last month.
  2. Progress report on the biography: I've a complete draft up through Chapter 18, of what will be probably 24-27 chapters in all. This is now over 230 pages, covering the lives of Johnson and Krauss up through the end of 1955. I'm working on the section covering the years 1956 through 1960.
  3. Check out Chris Walsh's Barnaby-The Sly Little Comic strip, a post on his new Walsh-O-Matic Blog.

1 July 2008: For those who are interested, here's an update on the biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss. I've written over 200 pages, including Chapters 1 through 13, and 15 through 17. I'm currently working on Chapter 14, covering the years 1948-1949. The entire book will include a brief prologue, and 23 chapters. (The chapters are all under 20 pages in length. If I find that a chapter is growing too long, I divide it. So, it's possible that the number of chapters will increase.) The manuscript is due in to the publishers (University Press of Mississippi) at the end of 2008. As of this writing, I'm running a couple of months' behind schedule. If you'd like to know what other stuff I've been up to, take a look at my Books page and/or my CV. To all who have helped with the bio.: THANK YOU for your support.

20 Feb. 2008: With thanks to Chris Ware, you can now see a 1958 poster featuring Harold (and his purple crayon, of course).

20 Oct. 2007: Happy Birthday, Crockett Johnson! Today, Crockett Johnson would have been 101 years old. In celebration of his birthday, I have some news to share. My work-in-progress, Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: A Biography, is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. The manuscript is due in to the press in December 2008. I will do my utmost to turn it in on time, of course. Presuming that I meet my objective, the book should be out in 2009.

Do any of you have suggestions for a better title? For example, it's really a Double Biography (since it's of two people). And more people know who Johnson is than know who Krauss is. Furthermore, more people know Harold and the Purple Crayon than know the name "Crockett Johnson." I've been toying with ideas like Behind the Purple Crayon and the Carrot Seed: The Lives and Works of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss. But that's rather cumbersome. For Johnson, the book to mention is definitely Harold. For Krauss, that's trickier. Her best-known book is either The Carrot Seed or A Hole Is to Dig. It's harder to work the latter into a title, though. Well, in sum, any suggestions would be welcome.

Finally, thank you for your patience. The bio has taken me much longer than I thought it would. Two reasons: First, writing a biography is an enormous amount of work. Truly, the amount of work is almost impossible to measure. I've been to over a dozen archives, interviewed over 75 people, etc., etc. Second, I've written four other books. My fifth -- which I co-edited with Julia Mickenberg -- will be out in the fall of 2008 from NYU Press. Its title is Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature. For a more complete account of what I've been up to, you might take a look at my curriculum vitae.

20-21 Oct. 2006: Centenary Celebration of Crockett Johnson, Bender Room, Green Library, Stanford University. I'll be speaking on the life of Crockett Johnson. Here's a tentative schedule of events:

Friday, Oct. 20, 2006
1:00
Welcome
1:30
"Behind the Purple Crayon: Crockett Johnson at 100." Presentation by Philip Nel
2:30
Barnaby. Panelists include Philip Nel, Zachary Baker.
3:00
Harold. Panelists include Philip Nel, Harold Frank (Johnson's nephew).
4:00
The Carrot Seed and Other Collaborations. Panelists include Terri Goldich, Philip Nel.
4:30
Adaptations, New Works, Videos, Collectibles
5:00
Musical Audios

Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006
9:30
"Children's Literature Collections in Academic Libraries." Panelists: William A. Gosling, Terri J. Goldich, John Mustain.
10:45
"Why Children's Literature Belongs in Academic Libraries." Panelists: Seth Lerer, Heather Hebard, Glen Worthey.
12:00
"Collecting Crockett." Irwin T. Holtzman and James Babcock talk about Mr. Holtzman's Crockett Johnson Collection.
12:30
Dedication of the Irwin T., Shirley, Tessa and Ethan Holtzman Special Collection of Crockett Johnson. Portions of this collection will be on exhibit during the conference.

5 July 2006: With thanks to Detelf Urbschat, I've added the cover for the German translation of Harold and the Purple Crayon.

17 April 2006: Thanks to Mike Lynch for steering me to the Comics Journal blog, which reports:

Dean Parisot ("Fun with Dick and Jane", "Galaxy Quest"), in a recent visit to our college campus, told us that he is currently working on three movie, one of which "is a children's fantasy movie, 'Barnaby,', written by the same team that scripted 'Men in Black.'" I've since verified, with someone who went to this talk, that yes, this is Crockett Johnson's Barnaby.

The Comics Reporter website has also picked up the story.

13 April 2006: Added the cover to the Hebrew translation of Harold and the Purple Crayon to the Books: Translations page.

29 March 2006: Thanks to a tip from Bryan Bishop, the Carrot Seed record page now has a link to Kiddie Records Weekly, which posted an mp3 and cover art for The Carrot Seed back in July 2005.

9 February 2006: Thanks to the generosity of Chris Ware, I've added the Harold Book & Record set (which includes Book, Record, & Crayon) to the Harold Books page. And that's not all. You will also find an mp3 of the record (again, courtesy of Mr. Ware). Enjoy!

8 October 2005: Cartoons Against the Axis opens at New York's Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, 549 Broadway (between Houston and Prince), Suite 401 (4th floor). There, you'll see cartoons from Charles Addams, Peter Arno, Syd Hoff, Saul Steinberg, Crockett Johnson, and many others. The museum's hours are 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, and by appointment only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The exhibit closes 6 February 2006. So, see it while you can!

30 July 2005: Added the final cover for Crockett Johnson's Magic Beach (to be published in October by Front Street Books) to relevant pages, replacing the earlier cover. The book contains an appreciation by Maurice Sendak and an afterword by Philip Nel (a.k.a. me).

4 May 2005: Added Crockett Johnson's Magic Beach (to be published this fall by Front Street Books) to relevant pages, such as one devoted exclusively to Magic Beach, as well as (of course) the main Books page and the Bibliography.

7 & 8 April 2005: Ruth Krauss's The Happy Egg (illustrated by Crockett Johnson) has also been republished by HarperCollins. I've added the new cover to the Books: Collaborations page. I've added HarperCollins' new covers for Ruth Krauss's The Carrot Seed (60th anniversary edition) and Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon (50th anniversary edition) to their respective pages, too.

1 April 2005: Bernadine Cook's The Little Fish That Got Away (illustrated by Crockett Johnson) will be republished by HarperCollins. As of 3 January 2005, the book was already listed at Amazon.com.

23 February 2005: I am sorry to report the passing of Mary Elting Folsom (1906-2005). She died of congestive heart failure on Saturday, January 29th, at the age of 98 and a half. An author of many children's books, Mary has been enormously helpful to me in writing this biography: not only did she know Crockett Johnson in the 1930s, but she had an extraodinarily detailed memory of people and places. In addition, she was a remarkable person -- active and activist until the end. If you knew her or if you would like to learn more about her, please visit this website.

3 January 2005: Added the new cover art for Bernadine Cook's The Little Fish That Got Away (illustrated by Crockett Johnson) to the Books: Collaborations page. (See above for more news.)

20 October 2004: Happy 98th Birthday, Crockett Johnson! On this occasion, I thought I would announce that in the fall of 2005, Front Street Books will be publishing Crockett Johnson's Magic Beach with an afterword by Philip Nel (me). This book will be the first in 40 years written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson!

1 Februrary 2004: Issue no. 5 of Comic Art -- featuring my biographical essay on Crockett Johnson -- is now out. In addition to being the most thorough biography of Johnson ever published, the essay is fully illustrated (thanks to generous individuals and special collections). To order a copy of Comic Art, click on this sentence or check your local comics store/bookstore -- Borders carries Comic Art.

26 December 2003: Check out issue no. 5 of Comic Art (forthcoming in early February, 2004) for my biographical essay on Crockett Johnson. The 10,000-word piece is the most thorough biography of Johnson ever published, and it's fully illustrated. Indeed, a number of the images in the article are quite rare (thanks to generous individuals and special collections for sharing their Crockett Johnson rarities!). To order a copy of Comic Art, click on this sentence or check your local comics store/bookstore -- Borders carries Comic Art.

8 August 2003: Added Crockett Johnson Papers and Ruth Krauss Papers (both from the University of Southern Mississippi's deGrummond Collection) to the Links page, and checked all links on the Links page.

19 January 2003: Thanks to Alfred A. Knopf, Ellen's Lion is back in print this month! Back in October 2002, HarperCollins published HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics: A Child's First Collection. On pages 97 to 160, the volume reprints Harold and the Purple Crayon. 23 January 2003: Having just obtained copies of both books, I am interested to note that the editors of the new edition of Ellen's Lion have evidently visited this site: the dust jacket not only makes mention of Johnson's work for the New Masses, but paraphrases parts of the biography provided here. In contrast, the editors of the HarperCollins Treasury err in their biographical sketch, claiming (for example) that "Barnaby" ran from 1941 to 1962.

1 November 2002: The premiere issue of Comic Art Magazine (out this month) features an interview with Dan Clowes, in which he discusses "Barnaby"; Comic Art Magazine also reprints two "Barnaby" dailies. You can see the magazine on-line (follow the links above), but if you want to read the articles, you'll need to obtain a copy. To order an issue or to subscribe to Comic Art Magazine, click on this sentence. To learn more about Comic Art Magazine, click on this sentence.

20 October 2002: Happy Birthday, Crockett Johnson! In honor of what would have been Crockett Johnson's 96th birthday, I've added the Italian translation of Barnaby to the Translations page, and I've placed photographs of four more paintings on the Art page.

3 August 2002: Added the Danish translation of Harold and the Purple Crayon and the Japanese translation of Harold's ABC to the Translations page, added a new suggestion to the Carrot Seed song FAQ, updated the Search list, and verified all links on the Links page (I've noted or changed those links which no longer work). If you come across links that don't work, do let me know (my email address is at the top of the page). Thank you.

7 February 2002: The Marxists Internet Archive's Crockett Johnson page reprints three New Masses cartoons. I've provided links from the Links page and Early Work page.

20 and 27 November 2001: Thanks to Bernadine Cook, the Japanese translation and Dutch translation of The Little Fish That Got Away now appear on the Translations page.

20 October 2001: Happy Birthday, Crockett Johnson! To celebrate what would have been Crockett Johnson's 95th birthday, I've added several more books to the Translations page: Harold et le crayon rose, Harold et le jardin enchanté, Harold dans les étoiles, Paultje en het paarse krijtje, and Paultje op Mars.

19 October 2001: Nickelodeon Magazine's November 2001 issue has been published. It features six of Johnson's "Barkis" strips on page 48!

26 September 2001: Some excellent news. Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Children (edited by Art Spiegelman and François Mouly) is now out: it features a "Barnaby" sequence, adapted from Barnaby (1943), pp. 2-8, 10, 13-35, 39-40, and Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley (1944), pp. 2-3. You Read to Me & I'll Read to You: 20th-Century Stories to Share (edited by Janet Schulman) is also out: it features three stories from Ellen's Lion (1959): "Conversation and Song," "Two Pairs of Eyes," and "The New Squirrel."

10 August 2001: Children's Literature 29 (2001) is out. This year's issue includes "'Never overlook the art of the seemingly simple': Crockett Johnson and the Politics of the Purple Crayon" (pp. 142-74), an article written by me (Philip Nel) and -- thanks to the consent of the copyright holders -- featuring photos of work by Crockett Johnson.

24 June 2001 Parade Magazine's show-biz column says Sharon Stone "was recently in L.A. to record the narration for HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, an HBO animated series." Thanks to Richard Cohen for the tip.

9 May 2001: Have added information (a FAQ and an entry on the Harold books page) about the Harold and the Purple Crayon Game, which is produced by Briarpatch.

25 April 2001: Kobyland's The Spiegleman Shack (14 March 2001) includes an interview with Spiegelman, in which he mentions that a "Barnaby" sequence will be included in the second Little Lit collection (Strange Stories for Strange Children, to be published in August 2001). See page 4 of the interview. Thanks to Sean Rogers for pointing this out. [Note: these are now available courtesy of the Wayback Machine.]

20 April 2001: In "'Purple Crayon' draws Stone" (a Hollywood Reporter story picked up by Yahoo! News ), Brett Sporich reports that "Sharon Stone will lend her voice to Sony Pictures Entertainment's newly developed animated pay television series 'Harold and the Purple Crayon,' based on the popular children's book series of the same name by Crockett Johnson." The series will air on the HBO Family channel, beginning with "a special presentation in December, followed by a weekly strip airing during the preschool morning block beginning in January" according to Dolores Morris, the vice president of HBO Family's family programming. The stories will be dramatized using traditional cel animation because "We wanted to maintain the look of the books, and cel animation is the way to do that," said Bob Higgins, the network's senior vice president of creative affairs. "Computer animation would remove the soft quality of the colors as seen in the books," he explained. To read the full story, click here. Thanks to Lee Behlman for calling this to my attention. 23 April 2001: In today's Salon.com "Nothing Personal" column, "Darling, you scent me," Amy Reiter includes a brief mention of this story. Scroll down to the third paragraph of "Juicy Bits." Thanks to Kristine Howard.

2 February 2001: The Italian Harold makes his debut on the Translations page. And, as today is Groundhog Day, why not read Will Spring Be Early? or Will Spring Be Late?

2 January 2001: Added more covers to the Harold books page. And the "Thanks" list expands.

23 November 2000: The cover for the library edition of Will Spring Be Early? or Will Spring Be Late? joins the cover for the commercial edition, and the "Thanks" list grows some more. I'm very grateful to those who have offered their time, memories, knowledge, or any of the above.

3 September 2000: Added some items to the "About" section of the bibliography page, made a minor change to the biography page.

Also, a short note to those who regularly visit the Crockett Johnson Homepage: Though I shall continue to maintain the site, my other commitments prevent me from offering a major update every month (as I did during the site's first two years). That said, the site (as it is currently) offers plenty for you to explore, and I'll do my best to keep everything up to date, providing new content from time to time. Finally, as I say elsewhere on the site, I'm working on a biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss -- any offers for information are always welcome.

5 August 2000: A stanza of a poem by Rita Dove now appears on the "Critics" page. The poem includes a reference to Harold. In other news, the "Thanks" list continues to expand. That's all for now.

1 July 2000: The Crockett Johnson Homepage moves to its new home, at http://www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/purple. Please update your bookmarks and links!

5 June 2000: Added the Pocket Books cover for Barnaby (1946).

10 May 2000: The original cover (William R. Scott, Inc., 1956) of The Little Fish That Got Away now appears next to the Scholastic version, and the Chinese edition of Harold and the Purple Crayon can be found on the Translations page. Here and there, you might notice other relatively minor changes.

20 April 2000: "Barnaby" made its debut in PM 58 years ago today. In honor of this anniversary, the Crockett Johnson Homepage presents the Dover covers of Barnaby (1967) and Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley (1975), and more "Barnaby" characters absent from the 1940s collections (and Dover reprints) but present in the 1980s collections and in the original strips. On all "books" pages (Cartoons, Translations, Harold, Ellen, etc.), I have added beneath each scanned-in cover the publisher and year of the edition represented. Careful readers will also note additions to the "Thanks" page, and some revisions to the bibliography.

15 March 2000: The original cover (Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1956) of Mickey's Magnet now appears next to the Scholastic version. The bibliography of "Little Man with the Eyes" cartoons now probably lists all of the cartoons if not all of the page numbers (on which they appeared in Collier's).

22 February 2000: With thanks to Tim Samuelson, you can now see a Barnaby strip from the 1960s.

14 January 2000: Thanks to J. B. Stroud, I now have titles for some of Johnson's paintings (on the "Art" page). Thanks to Rick Norwood, you can now see the cover of Barnaby Quarterly #3! Mr. Norwood has also provided more accurate publication information for the redrawn "Barnaby": as a result, the Bibliography, Biography, and cartoon books pages have all been updated.

12 January 2000: Bill Slankard wrote in to say: "The latest issue of Comics Revue, #165, begins reprinting the Barnaby daily strip from 1960. The first 31 strips appear in this issue, and the publisher plans to print all of the 1960s strips, then follow-up with some strips from the 1950s that give the strip a natural close. Comics Revue is available by subscription from Manuscript Press, P O Box 336, Mountain Home, TN, 37684. The publisher, Rick Norwood, can be reached at (423) 926-7495, or by e-mail at f.norwood@worldnet.att.net. Subscriptions are $45 for 12 issues in the US." In other news, I have added Kevin Henkes' remarks to the Critics page.

7 December 1999: Found two of Johnson's paintings elsewhere on the web. Links are on the "Art" and "Links" pages.

1 December 1999: Fully illustrated covers or dust jackets replace title pages or non-illustrated covers: Willie's Adventures, Gordy and the Pirate, Time for Spring.

6 November 1999: Added the cover from This Rich World: The Story of Money, and have discovered that the book was first published in 1943 (not 1950, when it was reprinted in an expanded version). On that same page, you can also see the original cover for Is This You?

20 October 1999: Happy Birthday, Crockett Johnson! To celebrate what would have been Johnson's 93rd birthday (see the biography), why not have a slice of pie? Harold has nine favorite kinds of pie: what are yours? You also might re-read one of Johnson's books, share a favorite story with a friend (of any age), or explore areas of this site you may have missed (see the Site Map).

13 October 1999: Ivan Ulz' recording of "The Carrot Seed" is out. For more information, please read the "Carrot Seed" song FAQ. I am working on a biography of Crockett Johnson, and have placed a request for information on the Search List. Have any suggestions? Ever meet Johnson or Krauss? Contact me. Thanks.

4 September 1999: On the biography page, I've added a few more quotations (from Johnson). Shrdlu has joined the "Barnaby" characters, and has agreed to take over the task of placing typographical errors on the Crockett Johnson Homepage. With thanks to Dennis Duarte, you can now see front of the record jacket to -- and labels from -- the 78 of "The Carrot Seed" (the song). In other "Carrot Seed" song news, Ivan Ulz reports that his new recording of "The Carrot Seed" should be out later this month. When I learn more about it, I'll post the information here.

15 August 1999: Pieni Karhu [Little Bear] Publishing publishes Valtteri ja violetti väriliitu -- Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955) in Finnish. As of 18 August 1999, you can visit, see and buy the book on Pieni Karhu's site (click on "kirjat") or just see it on the "Translations" page of this site.

11 August 1999: New today: the Mr. O'Malley doll, a page devoted to Johnson's art, and an article on Johnson's art by Johnson himself. The College of Charleston's server misbehaved recently, replacing the then-current version of the Crockett Johnson Homepage with a version from a couple of weeks ago. As a result, some changes uploaded about a week ago may be now be new again. So, please take note of a few small changes to the biography, mostly concerning where Johnson lived. Also, during the last couple of weeks, the general Bibliography and Crockett Johnson's Early Work: A Bibliography have grown some more.

19 July 1999: The Crockett Johnson Homepage would like to wish itself a very happy birthday. (It went on-line in July 1998.) Just in time for the celebrations, the general Bibliography and Crockett Johnson's Early Work: A Bibliography have both undergone considerable expansion. In particular, see the following sections: Pamphlet, Reviews By, Art, In Translation, and the New Masses cartoons.

20 June 1999: More "Barnaby" characters have arrived. Please welcome Myles O'Malley, J. P. Orion, and Emmy Lou Schwartz. Also, the cartoon characters page has been divided into three: "Barnaby, page 1," "Barnaby, page 2," and "Barkis." If this reorganization has resulted in any broken links, please let me know.

15 May 1999: Added two more photographs of Johnson, both taken in the 1950s. A few more details about the Barnaby Quarterly appear on the Barnaby Quarterly page, and more "Barnaby" characters have wandered onto the site. In addition, the ardent and the curious might observe results of other tinkering.

20 April 1999: Cushlamochree! 57 years ago today, "Barnaby" made its debut in PM. To commemorate this anniversary, the Crockett Johnson Homepage presents a previously unpublished drawing of Mr. O'Malley and Barnaby, adds the dust jacket to Barnaby (1943), expands the "Miscellaneous" menubar (which contains many "Barnaby" links), and begins (re)introducing "Barnaby" characters absent from the 1940s collections (but present in the 1980s collections and in the original strips). In other news, a 1941 self-caricature of (and by) Johnson appears on the biography page; the essay page has been renamed "Articles by Crockett Johnson," and now includes a mathematical proof from 1970. Finally, the bibliography has grown and, as usual, frequent visitors may notice other changes made today or during the past month.

28 March 1999: I just noticed and corrected an error on the biography page. I apologize for my mistake and ask regular visitors to reread the final few paragraphs of the biography. If you encounter other errors, please let me know.

26 March 1999: Nashville, TN. At the Third Biennial Conference on Modern Critical Approaches to Children's Literature, I will be presenting a paper on Crockett Johnson. To read the conference program, click here.

1 March 1999: Today, the page introduces a Site Map, expands the FAQ, gives Duke Ellington's letter its own page, adds Harold's Purple Crayon Treasury, includes the cover for the 1990 edition of Who's Upside Down?, and makes several minor changes and corrections which regular visitors might notice.

Late February 1999: Attention, "Barnaby" fans! Tom Spurgeon, Executive Editor of the Comics Journal, reports that "'Barnaby' was selected by our critics and editors and will appear as one of the entries in our special issue 'The Top 100 Comics of the Century.' That issue, #210, will be out in late February." According to Mr. Spurgeon, you should be able to find the Comics Journal at your local comic book stores and at certain magazine outlets, such as Borders and Barnes and Noble. Should these options fail, he suggests contacting the Comics Journal or Fantagraphics Books (its publisher) via their websites (click on the relevant words in this sentence) or by phone at 1-800-657-1100. (For #210, a double-sized issue, the cost in U.S. dollars is $7.95.)

1 February 1999: Merry Go Round now has entires on the "1950s" pages (books and characters), completing the "Books" pages. (Or, at least, its inclusion means that I've now accounted for all books of which I'm aware.) On the Barnaby Quarterly page, I've added some text from the inside and back covers of the quarterlies (photocopies courtesy of Mr. Clowes). With thanks to Ms. Molly Butler, the Crockett Johnson Homepage is now able to provide some information about a recording of "The Carrot Seed" (the song); the new page has been linked to both Ruth Krauss sections (on the "Collaborations" pages).

5 January 1999: Thanks to Mr. Dan Clowes for sending photocopies of covers from two issues of the Barnaby Quarterly. Both covers now appear on their own page, and have been linked to both "Cartoons" pages (books and characters).

4 January 1999: Though most biographical entries (Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, Third Book of Junior Authors, Major Authors and Illustrators, Contemporary Authors, etc.) claim that Johnson published "The Little Man with the Eyes" from 1938 to 1941, this statement is untrue. In fact, the strip ran in Collier's from 1940 to 1943, and all relevant pages (biography, bibliography, early work) have been altered to reflect this fact.

        On the "Early Work" page, I've added a second cartoon from The New Masses. On that and other appropriate pages, you'll find a link to "Crockett Johnson's Early Work: A Bibliography," a page which lists precisely where other New Masses cartoons and "Little Man with the Eyes" comics appeared. In related "news media" changes, you'll now find a page on PM, the newspaper in which "Barnaby" made its debut. I've linked the PM page to both "Cartoons" pages (books and characters).

15 December 1998: With thanks to Mr. Paul Fernbach for lending his copy of the book, Barnaby #3: Jackeen J. O'Malley for Congress now appears on the cartoon books page. And, you can now see the strip that preceded "Barnaby": a couple of "The Little Man with the Eyes" comics have made their way on to the "Early Work" page. Observant visitors will notice a few other small changes, such as an extra menubar for both "Cartoons" pages (books and characters) and both "Harold" pages (books and characters).

11 December 1998: See the dust jacket to Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley on the cartoon books page, as well as a few more critics' remarks (culled from the jacket) on the critics' page.

5 December 1998: Introducing...: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

1-2 December 1998: Several small changes, including more information about the "Barnaby" TV special (in the "TV" section of the Bibliography), adding this item to the "Search List," and a cosmetic change to the cartoon characters page.

18 November 1998: In response to the question, "How do you pronounce 'Cushlamochree'?" I've added a few notes on the word.

15 November 1998: Constance J. Foster's The Story of Money (with illustrations by Johnson) now appears on both "Collaborations" pages (books and characters).

1 November 1998: On the "Thanks" page, I have listed items I'm looking for; I've now named that section of the page "Search List" and have just added the report of a recording of The Carrot Seed. I will update the list regularly, and I invite you to read it over. If you have any information about items on the list or if you know of other items to add to the list, send me an email.

23-24 October 1998: Added the two Barnaby books issued in 1985, updated the "About" section of the bibliography, modified slightly the "Barnaby" section of the biography.

20 October 1998: Happy Birthday, Crockett Johnson! To commemorate what would have been Johnson's 92nd birthday (see the biography), the site introduces three new items. First, Dorothy Parker's letter to PM, a document often quoted but rarely seen. Second, the covers for three of the six Barnaby books issued in 1985-86. Since these books contain comics not included in the two Barnaby collections published in the 1940s, descriptions for the cartoon books page and additions to the cartoon characters pages will be forthcoming. Finally, a second Barkis comic can be found on the cartoon characters page.

8-9 October 1998: Added a description of Harold at the North Pole, completing the Harold books page. On the same page, you'll find children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom's comments on the first Harold book; since a few letters to Johnson appear in it, I've placed Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom in the "About" section of the bibliography. How to Make an Earthquake is now included in the two "Collaborations" pages (books and characters).

3 October 1998: ¿Habla Español? Pues, vamos a ver una pagina nueva: "Crockett Johnson in Translation."

October 1998: Good news for Harold's fans! The long (40 years!) out-of-print Harold at the North Pole (1958) has been republished by HarperCollins' Juvenile Books division. According their website, in honor of the republication of this book, HarperCollins is reissuing four other Haroldbooks in a "bold and bigger trim size along with bright and engaging treatments of the original cover art." The size and cover art are their only alterations to these books; the text and other illustrations remain the same.

        Caveat: I have not been able to find a good copy of Harold at the North Pole. The book I ordered from (and subsequently returned to) Amazon.com as well as other copies I've seen in local bookstores all have the following defects. A line of the art from the last page appears in the left hand side of the first page, and the tops of illustrations have been shaved off. Above the words "He generously filled the bag to overflowing," we see Harold with the top of his hat missing; accompanying "And here all Harold could see was snow" is a candy cane that runs off the top of the page; and the reindeer's antlers have, too, been cropped. It would appear that the first printing of Harold at the North Pole has been carelessly done.

        On October 17th, I wrote to HarperCollins to inquire if they had a good copy of the book available. On October 21st, HarperCollins' Mary Beth Kilkelly wrote back. She apologized for the defective copy and thanked me for alerting HarperCollins to the problem. In addition, she forwarded my message to the Production Manager, so that "she will be able to compare [my] report with other information from the booksellers about the first printing of the book." Ms. Kilkelly added, "Yours is the first complaint about the book that I have received from our web site feedback area, and I am sure that there are or will be perfect copies in the bookstores by now." I applaud HarperCollins' prompt and courteous response, and hope that there are now perfect copies in the bookstore. As soon as I get one, I'll modify this entry and let you know. (If my experience was anomalous, I wouldn't want my remarks to diminish sales of Harold at the North Pole.)

30 September 1998: A "Miscellaneous" menubar has joined the "Miscellaneous" page. Also, see the debut of a new page on Crockett Johnson's early work, featuring an illustration from Robert Forsythe's Redder Than the Rose (1935; more information included in the bibliography).

28 September 1998: "Collaborations" menubars arrive on the main "Books" and "Characters" pages, and Castles in the Sand finds a place on both "Collaborations" pages (books and characters). Added Barbara Bader's American Picturebooks (1976) to the bibliography. And, on the "Thanks" page, you'll find a list of items I'm seeking.

23-24 September 1998: Please welcome The Happy Egg and The Little Fish That Got Away to the "Collaborations" pages (books and characters), and meet The Frowning Prince on the "1950s" pages (books and characters). A "Miscellaneous" page now links together a planned "Early Work" page, the new "Favorites" page, and two already extant pages (on the "Fantastic Companions" essay, and on film). The URL for the page you're reading will remain the same, but -- to save space on the text menubar -- I've shortened the title to "News."

18-19 September 1998: Now, more Harold-inspired pages appear on the "Links" page. Also, The Emperor's Gifts and Gordy and the Pirate have entries on the two "1960s" pages (books and characters). Since these pages are now complete, I've added corresponding "1960s" menubars to the main "Books" and "Characters" pages.

12 September 1998: You'll find a page on an essay by Crockett Johnson, which, like the "Film" page, can be accessed through the bibliography.

10 September 1998: Added a "Thanks" page, and two "1960s" pages -- one for books, the other for characters. A new opening graphic now functions as an image map: Johnson's photo takes you to his biography, and each character takes you to one of the book pages (Others from the 1950s, Collaborations, Cartoons, the Ellen Series, Others from the 1960s, and the Harold Series).

3-6 September 1998: Added descriptions to all of the "Books" pages, a page concerning Crockett Johnson on video, some characters from the 1950s and others created in collaboration. Revised the biography to include Maurice Sendak's recollections of life at the Johnson-Krauss home in the early '50s

29-30 August 1998: Redesigned "Books" and "Characters" pages.

19 August 1998: The Crockett Johnson Homepage moves to its new location, at http://www.cofc.edu/~nelp/purple/.

14 July 1998: The Crockett Johnson Homepage makes its debut at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/english/nel/purple/welcome.html.


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Last updated Monday, August 13, 2012 .