Der Bat Artist / Maurice Sendak RIP

Source: Stuart Wright Collection – Randall Jarrell Papers #1169-005.6.u

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo


Poet Randall Jarrell collaborated on three children’s books with illustrator Maurice Sendak: Fly by Night (1976), The Animal Family (1965) and The Bat-Poet (1964). Of the three, The Bat-Poet has always been my favorite.  Shortly before publication of The Bat Poet, in 1964, Sendak sent this undated letter to Jarrell.  In place of a signature, Sendak signed his letter with a characteristically charming and tiny pen & ink cartoon of himself in the guise of “Der Bat Artist” flourishing his brush in hand (or foot) and about to create.  The miniature drawing perfectly captures the spirit of Jarrell’s poetic hero, who, like a real human child, tale is just so eager and sweet and shy and curious, yet manages all this without being too cloying. The small bat wants to know things, and then he wants to sing, and when that doesn’t work, he begins to make up poems, trying to express himself. He sets out to explore the day world, for example, and he gets a creative crush on the vain yet talented mockingbird. Little by little, he puts his observations into words.  When he received Sendak’s letter, Jarrell filed it carefully inside his copy of The Bat Poet, where it remained until Joyner Library acquired it in 2010.

This post is in honor of Maurice Sendak who died on 8 May 2012 in Danbury, Connecticut at age 83.

Vaisseau de 90 Canons "Le Suffren" 1829

Source: Rare Books Vault V13.F82 P37 1883 plate 48

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: A vessel of 90 canons named “Le Suffren” in the French Navy in 1829.  Le Suffren was named after the French  Admiral Pierre Andre Suffren de Saint Tropez (1729-1788), the third son of the marquis de Saint Tropez. From 1776 to 1783 Admiral Suffren fought British Naval Forces in American, European and Indian waters. In 1783 at the Battle of Culladore, Suffren forced the English admiral Sir Edward Hughes to retire, thereby preventing a re-supply fleet from reaching the colony of India. Several subsequent French naval vessels were named after Admiral Suffren: a pre-dreadnought in 1899, a heavy cruiser in 1927 and frigate class laid down in 1962. This print is from a book of reproductions of maritime models held by the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Le Suffren was laid down on 21 August 1824 and launched 27 August 1829. Renamed Le Ajax as a hulk on 8 August 1865, she was scrapped in 1874. Le Suffren displaced 4,000 tons and had a length of 60 meters and a beam of 16 meters. She was one of the largest wooden warships of her day.