April 20, 2018 Library Celebrates Children's Book Week

Event Features Mark Twain Folk Tale More Than a Century in the Making

Press Contact: Bryonna Head (202) 707-3073 | Benny Seda-Galarza (202) 707-8732
Public Contact: Lee Ann Potter (202) 707-8735
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The Library of Congress will celebrate Children’s Book Week with the annual Jonah S. Eskin Memorial Program on May 3, featuring the story behind the discovery and publication of “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine,”a previously unfinished Mark Twain folk tale brought to life by Caldecott Medal-winning author and illustrator couple Philip and Erin Stead. This discussion is being hosted by the Library’s Young Readers Center and Educational Outreach division.

The program will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building. A book signing will follow at 11:30 a.m. in the Whittall Pavilion. Tickets are not required; limited seating for the public is available. The programwill be livestreamed on the Library’s Facebook page at facebook.com/LibraryOfCongress and its YouTube site (with captions) at youtube.com/LibraryOfCongress.

This is the ninth year of this annual children’s event, named in honor of the late son of Marcia and Barnet Eskin. Originally told as a bedtime tale for his daughters, “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine”sat unfinished in Twain’s papers at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkley, for over a century.

Using notes from Twain’s journal and inspired by research he conducted into Twain’s life and family, Philip Stead crafted a folk tale true to the humor and wit of the famous storyteller himself. The finished story was brought to life with illustrations by his wife, Erin Stead, and Doubleday published it under his name along with that of Twain.  

In addition to Stead’s intriguing story of discovery and inspiration, the program will feature a large selection of related items from the Library of Congress collections, along with facsimiles of original documents obtained by Stead and the publisher.

The Library holds a variety of Twain-related artifacts that include rare book illustrations, letters and journals, vintage photographs, prints and caricatures. Twain was a fierce advocate of protecting the copyright of authors and the Library holds an astonishing letter written by Twain to Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford in 1870 asking for his help in protecting the author’s work.

Philip Stead is the author of the Caldecott Medal-winning book, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” with his wife, illustrator Erin Stead. He also created “Bear Has a story to Tell” and “Lenny & Lucy,” as well as writing and illustrating his own books, including “Hello, My Name is Ruby,”“Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat” and“A Home for Bird.”

The Educational Outreach division develops and delivers teaching materials and programs to make the Library’s unparalleled collections of primary sources visible, accessible and easy for K-12 teachers to integrate into the classroom. For specialized educational resources, visit loc.gov/teachers.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


PR 18-047
ISSN 0731-3527