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Barbara Cooney (1917–2000)

Author of Miss Rumphius

Includes the names: Barbara Cooney, Barbara Cooney, Barbara By Cooney

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7,643 (55,211)1,1322,745 (4.05)40
Barbara Cooney and her twin brother were born on 6 August 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, in the Bossert Hotel. She grew up on Long Island, but spent her summers as a child in Maine. Cooney attended a boarding school as a child. Cooney graduated from Smith College in 1938 and studied lithography and etching at Art Students League in New York. Just one year after graduation, she had her first commission, the illustrations for Ake and His World by Bertil Malmberg. Recalling an earlier trip to Germany before the war and the horrors that she had seen there, she felt compelled to join the Women's Army Corps during the summer of 1942. She enrolled in officer training and achieved the rank of second lieutenant, but was honorably discharged the following spring because of marriage pregnancy. The couple bought a farm in Pepperell, Massachusetts where they ran a children's camp during the summer months. By this time, Cooney was illustrating several books a year and wrote one now and then. It was for her adaptation of Chaucer's The Nun Priest's Tale that she won the prestigious Caldecott Medal, the highest honor given for illustrated children's books in the United States, in 1959. Twenty-one years later, Cooney again won the Caldecott Medal for Ox-Cart Man written by Donald Hall. In 1993, Ms. Cooney deposited more than 400 pieces of original art from 21 of her books in the Northeastern Children's Literature Collection, a part of the University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections. Works from this collection and from the artist's private collection are shown in this exhibit. Miss Rumphius won the National Book Award in 1983 and inspired the creation of the Maine Library Association's Lupine Award. Cooney died on 14 March, 2000 at the age of 83. Her last book was Basket Moon published in September of 1999. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from Miss Rumphius
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Ox-Cart Man (Illustrator) 3,025 copies, 94 reviews
Bambi: A Life in the Woods (Illustrator, some editions) 2,061 copies, 43 reviews
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Christmas in the Barn (Illustrator, some editions) 636 copies, 10 reviews
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Seven Little Rabbits (Illustrator) 514 copies, 4 reviews
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Only Opal: The Diary of a Young Girl (Illustrator, some editions) 436 copies, 8 reviews
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The Man Who Didn't Wash His Dishes (Illustrator) 284 copies, 2 reviews
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Snow White and Rose Red (Illustrator, some editions) 258 copies, 11 reviews
The Basket Moon (Illustrator) 242 copies, 4 reviews
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Let's Keep Christmas (Illustrator, some editions) 167 copies
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Best in Children's Books 03 (Illustrator) 46 copies
Down to the Beach (Illustrator) 40 copies, 2 reviews
The Best Christmas (Illustrator, some editions) 30 copies, 3 reviews
Animal Folk Songs for Children (Illustrator) 29 copies
Peter's Long Walk (Illustrator) 25 copies
Demeter and Persephone: Homeric Hymn Number Two (Illustrator) 22 copies, 2 reviews
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The House Mouse (Illustrator) 15 copies
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Dionysos and the Pirates: Homeric Hymn Number Seven (Illustrator) 12 copies, 1 review
Pepper (Illustrator) 10 copies
The Brookline Trunk (Illustrator, some editions) 9 copies
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Yours with Love, Kate (Illustrator) 6 copies
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Short biography
Barbara Cooney was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was a stockbroker and her mother was an artist who encouraged Barbara's talent for art. She attended private schools and graduated from Smith College before briefly attending art school in New York. A year later, she got her first commission: the illustrations for Ake and His World (1940) by Bertil Malmberg. During World War II, Barbara served in the Women’s Army Corps and married Guy Murchie in 1944. They had two children. The couple later divorced and Barbara remarried in 1949 to Charles T. Porter, a physician, with whom she had two children. In the course of her long career, Barbara Cooney illustrated more than 100 books. After receiving her second Caldecott award, she began to write books as well. In her final years, she lived in a house in Maine overlooking the sea.
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