Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ralph C. Higgins (1921-1995)

Here's a cute little book I found at the local library book sale, Fantasies of Old Mr. Frost by Ralph C. Higgins (New York: Carlton Press, 1970). The author was born on January 3, 1921, and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Mr. Higgins died on November 30, 1995, and is buried at the Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Augusta. The jacket design is by Ellen Werblow.

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lawrence and Elisabeth Hanson

As their book jacket bio says, Lawrence and Elisabeth Hanson were a husband-and-wife team of biographers. Their subjects included Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, George Eliot, the Bronte family, Paul Verlaine, and Tchaikovsky. The irony is that biographical information about the Hansons is lacking, at least on the Internet. But at least I can offer these images and a little snippet of their lives. If you were casting a film of their own biographies, you might choose Peter O'Toole to play the husband and Jean Simmons to play the wife. The jacket design is by Leo Manso.

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, November 10, 2012

E. Harper Johnson & Burl Ives

Today I found a worn and moldy copy of Albad the Oaf, a children's book by Burl Ives, published in 1965. I have always thought that Burl Ives is a little bit creepy, but I'm not writing today to show his book-jacket biography. Instead, I would like to talk about the illustrator, E. Harper Johnson. Unfortunately, I know very little about him, not even a date or place of birth. All I know is that he was an illustrator, comic book artist, violinist, and opera singer. He may also have been an archaeologist. Johnson illustrated many books in the 1950s and '60s, especially biographies and historical books for children. At least two of those books were by the poet Arna Bontemps. Johnson's illustrations for Ageless Africa: A Pictorial History of the Golden Past by William Leo Hansberry appeared in Ebony magazine in 1965. I'm not sure that the book was ever published, as Hansberry died in November of that year. In any case, the artist Johnson lived on Long Island in 1965. He later married Salma Tahira Malik (Aug. 8, 1928-Oct. 10, 1979, Beverly Hills, California).

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Edwin Way Teale (1899-1980)

Author and naturalist Edwin Way Teale (1899-1980) wrote nearly three dozen books, including a series on his journeys through the four seasons. North with the Spring (1951) was the first book in the series. Autumn Across America (1956) and Journey Into Summer (1960) followed. The last, Wandering Through Winter (1965), won a Pulitzer Prize. Teale was born in Illinois, but it's no small source of pride for Hoosiers like me to know that he got his start as a naturalist on his grandparents' Indiana farm or that he received his undergraduate degree from an Indiana college (Earlham, 1922).

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley