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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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Becoming Crockett Johnson

Becoming Crockett Johnson

(p.16) 2 Becoming Crockett Johnson
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Philip Nel

University Press of Mississippi

On October 20, 1906 in New York City, Mary Burg gave birth to a boy whom she and her husband, David Leisk, named David Johnson Leisk. The boy would later assume the name Crocket after a comic strip character called Davy Crockett. In 1934, he started signing his work Crockett Johnson. In his childhood, Dave was relentlessly creative. He drew pictures in the margins of the hymnals at the Methodist church that the Leisks attended, made clay models and sketched famous people at home, and even came up with a cartoon in which he imagined his sister’s adventures. He also wrote stories. In these and other respects, Dave took after his father, who enjoyed reading and writing. At Newtown High School, he contributed to the school magazine the Lantern as both a writer and an illustrator. After graduating from Newtown High School in 1924, he earned a scholarship to Cooper Union in Lower Manhattan, but dropped out of school after his father died. At the age of eighteen, Dave began looking for work to support his family.

Keywords:   childhood, New York City, Mary Burg, David Leisk, David Johnson Leisk, Crockett Johnson, writing, Newtown High School, illustrator

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