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Crockett Johnson and Ruth KraussHow an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature$
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Philip Nel

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617036248

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617036248.001.0001

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Artists Are to Watch

Artists Are to Watch

Chapter:
(p.119) 14 Artists Are to Watch
Source:
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss
Author(s):

Philip Nel

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617036248.003.0015

In 1950, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy came up with a list of fifty-seven State Department employees who were members of the American Communist Party. By the end of April, Crockett Johnson was identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York Division as one of “400 concealed Communists.” Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss’s social circle included several people targeted for their alleged political beliefs, including John Howard Lawson and Howard Fast. Like her husband, Krauss was every bit progressive. Her book The Backward Day, published in the fall of 1950, was quietly subversive. Krauss also collaborated with Maurice Sendak, a young F. A. O. Schwarz window display artist, for A Hole Is to Dig and A Very Special House. As Krauss continued to find rich material for her children’s books, Johnson’s comic strip Barnaby ended its ten-year run. In 1952, the first children’s book written and illustrated by Johnson, Who’s Upside Down?, was published by William R. Scott.

Keywords:   children’s books, Crockett Johnson, American Communist Party, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ruth Krauss, Maurice Sendak, A Hole Is to Dig, comic strip, Barnaby, Who’s Upside Down?

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