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20th Century Children's Authors - Daugherty

     20th Century Children's Authors - James Daugherty - Andy and the Lion






Westport, Conn.

Dear Elizabeth Rider Montgomery,

I am naturally very encouraged to know that
you contemplate listing Andy in your new book about books, and the
story of their making.

I have often wondered why the hell writers and artists ever go
thru the enormous  pain, effort, sweat and tears it takes to write
a story or for that matter a single significant English sentence, paint
a picture, or construct a poem, and then encourage the myth that they
dash these things off in casual moods of airy inspiration.
Perhaps you will throw some light on this mystery.

I am somewhat at a disadvantage in the face of your questionnaire.
As much of the data regarding time and place has escaped me and the
particular story or picture book of Andy was never written at all.
in the usual sense.
I can however give you a more intimate genesis of its origin than your
formidable questionnaire might reveal.

I have always strongly felt that laughter was one of the great heal
ing agents for the burdens of humanity. It lightens them at least.
And i have always cherished a secret ambition to be able in some wa
way  to better spread this contagion of healing laughter. Another interest
or theory
I have contemplated is the telling of a story entirely in pictures
without the use of words. In this country only Lynn Ward has done it-
in his fine novels in wood cut. Of course the comic strip does this in a
way but relies heavily on balloon captions and a compilation of
plot rather than the simple but unlimited possibilities of pure pic

At this point here is how Andy evolved.
Mrs. Daugherty who has written several excellent juveniles, plays
and novels, and myself were spending a long winter evening in our




frontier cabin in the Conneticut backwoods about fifty miles from
New York. We were having some fine talk about the good plays we had
seen and of course discussing the charms of Bernard Shaw 's play Androcles
and the Lion. We had seen it performed in New York years ago.
As you may recall it was the Lion that stole the show and had all
New York rolling in the isles as they say for a whole season.

It was in this mellow mood that I went into my studio before turning
in and quickly sketched in pencil the picture sequence of Andy and
the Lion. I naturally and unconsciously visualized the story in terms
of my own middle western childhood. The problem that interested me
was to tell a story communicating humor, good will and affection entirely
thru the medium of pictures without words.

The sketches lay in my studio for weeks among the Wilderness
 of a thousand and one drawings paintings and paraphernalia that litter
this untidy shop.

When supplies run low it is my practice to go into the settlements
to trade and barter and stock up for the next stretch. Putting the
sketches in the pocket of my store clothes I adventured to the great
city with considerable misgiving and distrust. Greatly confused in
the rushing stream of its energetic inhabitants, I  happily remembered
Kay Masee, as a person with a sense of humor and imagination and as a
editor with the rare gift of extracting the best from the
writers and artists of children's books. I had previously illustrated
Benet's John Browns Body and other  books for her.

Miss Massee was vastly amused with the sketches and said you must
make this into a book at once. This is an answer to prayer, You
may be sure I said Amen.

The finished drawings were make in brush and ink and a separate
set of drawings for the yellow plate which enriches and gives depth
to the printed impression.




Up to this point there were to be no words accompanying the pictu
tures but when the proofs came in the editors decided that people
were unaccustomed to reading pictures without text and that there
must be words. As I had never written anything except personal
correspondence I passed this up. The editors drafted a
text but this just didn't seem to work out. Finally as a last resort Miss
Massee and
I sat in her office and wrote on the back of each sketch a line that
sounded right. It took about half an hour and was great fun
and the whole fitted together perfectly.

As a happy finale the famous Spenser Collection of rare  manuscripts
at the New York Public Library
bought the original drawings to add to their collection of
representative American art in this field.

Oddly enough this account seems to be the exception that proves
the rule about books and pictures being fashioned thru blood, tears
and sweat. Or maybe my theory is all wrong anyway.

In the Haycraft "Authors and Illustrators of Children's Books"
is an autobiography which gives you the answers to most of your
questionnaire. And if you  still want more with some photographs I
think I can dig up something in the files.

 I side with those artists and writers who are finding in the heart
and meaning of American life and its people their theme and inspirat
tion. The surface here has only been scratched, the possibilities for
rich expression are unlimited.

If I have failed to supply what you want on this them of Andy I ha
have anyway made the above effort to be cooperative.
With best wishes for the new project,


James Daugherty