Letters to the Children of Troy

Our History: Letters to the Children of Troy, May 1971 (via Brian Busby): ‘In early 1971, [children's librarian Marguerite] Hart wrote to dozens of actors, authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, librarians, and politicians of the day. She asked them to write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries, and their memories of reading and of books… Hart received 97 letters addressed to Troy’s young people from individuals who spanned the arts, sciences, and politics across the 50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, the Mariana Islands, and American Samoa’.

Those writing included First Lady Pat Nixon; Michigan Governor William Milliken; then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan; Michigan State University President Clifton Wharton, Jr., the first African-American president of a major U.S. university; first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong; Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown; authors Isaac Asimov, Hardie Gramatky, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Ben Spock, and E.B. White; and actors Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Vincent Price, and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. In early 1971, Hart wrote to dozens of actors, authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, librarians, and politicians of the day. She asked them to write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries, and their memories of reading and of books.

The letters are available as a flickr photoset. Our favourite is the four page letter from Edward Ardizzone, his handwriting as soft and evocative as his drawings, with a short memoir of a pre-(first world) war childhood: ‘To read of men + women of days gone by is to learn something of ourselves. For, after all, they are part of us’.

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