Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Aunt Jennie

My great aunt Jennie D. Lindquist was a children's author and editor of the Horn Book for over a decade. A cousin of mine unearthed a biography of her done by an MLS student in 1968, which has proved interesting. Jennie, signing herself J.D.L, reviewed over 1100 children's books for the magazine, several quite presciently. She must have done the first American review of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - it came out in September 1952 and was reviewed in the October issue, way ahead of the Herald and the New Yorker. - and she predicted that adults would look back on it in 30 years much as they did the E. Nesbit books in that era. I had known that her The Golden Name Day was a Newbery Honor Book in 1956, but I had not known it was the runner-up, nor that she was on the choosing committee until her book was nominated, at which point she took herself off. I'll have to tell those stories when we visit her grave this May.

10 comments:

Katherine Burkes said...

Your Aunt Jennie was a wonderful author! As a child I enjoyed reading the Golden Name Day, The Crystal Tree & The Little Silver House. I read these books cover to cover a dozen times each. I shared these stories with my daughter, now a young woman. These are some of my all-time favorites, but so difficult to find! My only regret is that I did not keep my childhood copies.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

That is gratifying to read.

Unknown said...

Hi -- Is there any possibility that the family member(s) who inherited the copyright to your great-aunt's books will bring them back into print (and e-book)? These are wonderful stories that I've loved ever since I first checked out The Little Silver House from my middle school's library, and I'd be delighted to be able to buy copies for the children I know.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I don't know who would be the heirs to the copyright. She had no siblings. Her mother had at least one and her father had many, so the descendants would be far and wide. I imagine copyright was never renewed and it all became public in the late 80's.

I can only suggest you try used book and library sales.

Unknown said...

Thanks! The Copyright Renewal Database at Stanford says that The Little Silver House's copyright was renewed by a Theodore Wadleigh, executor; the only entry for a copyright renewal on The Golden Name Day was by Garth Williams for the illustrations, so the text itself may not have been renewed. (The Crystal Tree, with its post-1963 copyright, would've been automatically renewed under the 1978 copyright act.)

So, it sounds like used bookstores it is for Silver House and Crystal Tree, but I can have some hopes for The Golden Name Day! I appreciate your quick response.

--Castiron

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ted Wadleigh, partner at Starr, Peters, etc where my Aunt Sal, Jennie's cousin and closest friend in her last few years, was a secretary for decades. Sal and Jennie are buried right next to each other.

She started a fourth, unnamed book. The manuscript, such as it was, sat in my house for years. Jennie was a children's l;ibrarian, one of the first in the country at that specialty, and editor of the Horn Book, and had a large collection children's books and correspondence with other authors. She donated that collection to White Pines College, which is now Chester College. Wadleigh was a trustee there. I eventually donated all her papers to that collection. The college is forever in danger of going under, and I have wondered where the collection would go, then. Not here. I have done my bit as the family curator and have tired of it. she's not the only one. Her grand-nephew Mike Pride is head of the Pulitzer Committee and was editor of the Concord Monitor for many years, for example.

They are girl books, and my sons were not that interested. My oldest son has two daughters. Between those two and my cousin Sandy's granddaughter we may wring some interest out of the next generation.

Kelly Vavala said...

Hi I would like to know if there would be any interest on bringing your Aunt Jennie's book's back by rewriting them... while Remaining true to her voice? Many classics have found away of reappearing in new versions and by the sounds of the comments on goodreads, amazon and such, it seems as though there is a "want" for these books to be in print once more! I would be very interested in this project.

Heather said...

I know this is a very old entry but I really enjoy her books. I have copies of them but as others mentioned they are rare and that is exploited now by collectors. I am hoping to figure out how to work towards them being digitized so at least they are not lost.
I researched the family history a little about ancestors basically to understand more about her. to me her books are a time capsule of history and tradition and worth saving so others can see how Swedish traditions were celebrated and understand life before fast cars and the internet.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thank you, Heather.

The update is that my wife did read the books to our oldest granddaughter last year.

David said...

My wife, Renee, has been on radio over the years and recently recorded "Golden Name Day" (public domain) for our oldest granddaughter. Any interest? If so, please let me know at sanforddr@gmail.com. We only wish all three books had remained in print. What a great series!