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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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(p.61) 8 Barnaby
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Philip Nel

University Press of Mississippi

For more than two years, Crockett Johnson tried to find a home for his new comic strip Barnaby. The opportunity came when Charles Martin, Johnson’s friend and the art editor of the new Popular Front newspaper called PM, offered the strip to King Features. Although it was rejected by King Features, PM’s comics editor, Hannah Baker, loved it. PM ran several advertisements to introduce Barnaby Baxter before the strip debuted on April 20, 1942. As Barnaby rapidly built a devoted following among culturally influential people such as Dorothy Parker, Duke Ellington, W. C. Fields, and Terry and the Pirates creator Milt Caniff, Ruth Krauss continued to take anthropology courses at Columbia University in New York. In the spring of 1943, Johnson illustrated his first children’s book, Constance J. Foster’s This Rich World: The Story of Money, one of the first wave of children’s books inspired by the consumer movement. For her part, Ruth started writing a book that she hoped would give children progressive ideas.

Keywords:   comic strip, Crockett Johnson, Barnaby, Charles Martin, PM, Ruth Krauss, Columbia University, children’s books, Constance J. Foster, This Rich World

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