Sunday, March 3, 2013
Hello I'm Adeline, 1944
A charming book by Frida Sarsen-Bucky, illustrated by Erika Weihs, published by the Animated Book Company in 1944. The book is a reminiscence of a favorite doll, and includes original music and lyrics composed by the author, 10 songs in all with piano accompaniment. Sarsen-Bucky also produced a children's album for Folkways in 1963 starring Marian Anderson: "Snoopycat, the Adventures of Marian Anderson's Cat Snoopy." Yes, the African-American contralto who sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 when she was denied permission to sing at Constitution Hall. You can see the album here.
Sarsen-Bucky was profiled in "German Children's and Youth Literature in Exile: 1933-1950," which I found when I Googled the author's name. According to the reference work, "Adeline" was a bestseller, with 150,000 copies sold, was recorded by RCA records, and was broadcast and rebroadcast on children's radio for several years. Sarsen-Bucky also wrote words and music for a recording about Fala, FDR's dog. In 1944, President Roosevelt personally read and approved the manuscript for the record album, "Fala," which came out in 1946, after the president died. In 1967, Sarsen-Bucky, then 85, wrote a memoir about Albert Einstein. She died in 1974 in New York City.
The artis Erika Weihs is also in the German exiles reference book. She worked for a greeting card company, and began illustrating children's books in 1942. She has illustrated some 60 books, but also did oil painting and collage, and was creating art well into her 80s. Weihs' artwork has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, and her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of the City of New York, among other places. You can see her paintings here. Weihs died in 2010 at the age of 92.
Weihs' illustrations are absolutely charming. I found this book with doll and clothing already cut-out. It would have been hard to resist doing it myself. The doll is a sturdy fiberboard type and the clothes are cardstock.