Friday, January 15, 2010

Storyteller Without Words—An Early Graphic Novelist

Original gouache illustration for The Biggest Bear, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1953 as the best illustrated children’s book in the United States.

"Storyteller without Words," an exhibit of Lynd Ward's work, is on display January 11 to May 7, 2010, in The Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library.

Ward (1905–1985) created his first graphic novel, Gods’ Man: A Novel in Woodcuts in 1929. This was also the first novel-length story told in wood engravings to be published in the United States. The exhibit includes prints from Ward’s graphic novels, original illustrations for his children’s books The Silver Pony and The Biggest Bear, as well as the original woodblocks for Ward’s 1934 illustrations for Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.

Recent gifts of the work of Ward to Penn State University Libraries' Rare Books and Manuscripts are from Robin Ward Savage, daughter of the late Lynd Ward; her sister, Nanda Ward; and other members of the Ward family. This body of work enhances the Libraries' already strong holdings in fine printing, printmaking techniques, children’s books, graphic novels, and original artwork for illustrated books.

The exhibit is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On February 10, at 4:30 pm in the Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library, University Park, Steven Herb will speak about the influence of Lynd Ward’s work on the development of graphic novels and on the mid-20th Century revolution in children’s literature in the United States. Dr. Herb is head of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Library at Penn State and director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in Library of Congress sponsored in Pennsylvania by Penn State University Libraries. The talk is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Sandra Stelts, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, (814-863-5388).

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