Maurice Sendak Collection

From 1968-2014 the Rosenbach was the repository for the picture book illustrations of artist and author Maurice Sendak (1928-2012). After his initial visit here in 1966—and thanks to a kinship the artist felt with the rare books and artwork collected by the Rosenbach brothers—Sendak began to leave his artwork for such books as Where the Wild Things Are (1963), In the Night Kitchen (1970), and Outside Over There (1981) on deposit at the Rosenbach where they were regularly exhibited to the public and accessible to researchers. The deposit comprised more than 10,000 pieces of original artwork, as well as manuscripts, dummy books, correspondence, printer’s proofs and other working materials, plus first editions of Sendak’s books.

In 2014 the Rosenbach returned the collection to Mr. Sendak’s estate and Foundation, the legal owners of the deposit. All requests for loans of original artwork and permission to publish Sendak images should be referred to the Sendak estate via its agent, Andrew Wylie of The Wylie Agency. Full contact information can be found on the WATCH database (Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders).

Maurice Sendak was an avid book collector as well as creator. In 2016, the Rosenbach received a bequest of more than 600 rare books from Maurice Sendak’s personal library. These books, which include first edition works by important American authors such as Herman Melville and Henry James as well as remarkable examples of illustrated children’s books by Lothar Meggendorfer and Beatrix Potter, are now part of the Rosenbach’s permanent collection.

Collection Highlights

“For Ruthie”

Four sheets of pen and ink drawings by Maurice Sendak, constructed as a booklet, adhered along top edge with masking tape. Cover sheet inscribed to Ruth Krauss. ca. 1958.

Atomics for the Millions drawings

Maurice Sendak got his first “gig” in the world of book illustration when he was 18, as some astonishing materials recently purchased by the Rosenbach attest. It was the spring of 1946, and his physics teacher at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, Hyman Ruchlis—recalling Sendak’s artistic talent from his contributions…

Best In Children’s Books

These three collections from 1960 and 1961 (volumes  31, 35, 41 in the series) contain selections illustrated by Maurice Sendak: The Velveteen Rabbit, Windy Wash Day and Other Poems, and What the Good-Man Does is Always Right.

Collection of Sendak opera ephemera

Rosenbach PurchaseThis collection of materials relates mainly to Sendak's work on the operas Where the Wild Things Are, Love for Three Oranges, Cunning Little Vixen, and Hansel and Gretel. It includes posters, programs, books, and phtoocopies of working material.

I Saw Esau

First published in 1947 by British folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, I Saw Esau is a treasury of riddles, jump-rope rhymes, taunts, and insults that pass, with remarkably little variation, from one generation of schoolchildren to the next.   Sendak’s brilliant watercolors accompanied the 1992 edition.Maurice Sendak, I Saw Esau: final…

Imagination and Innovation: The Story of Weston Woods

Gift of John CechThe film company Weston Woods, which was founded in 1953, specializes in animated children's books. It has produced animated versions of several Sendak stories, including Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. Sendak's affection for Weston Woods comes out clearly in the foreward which…

Inscribed Copy of Fantasy Sketches

This copy of Maurice Sendak's Fantasy Sketches, published by the Rosenbach in 1970, is inscribed by Sendak with a drawing to Harry Ford and is accompanied by a letter on Sendak's personal stationery.

Materials related to Dracula and Sendak

Bram Stoker, Dracula. New York: Gallery Books, 1990 (a pop-up book) Ron van der Meer and Alain Presencer, Beyond Belief. New York: Crescent Books, 1991 One uncut publisher’s proof of A Very Special House, written by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Maurice Sendak Materials relating to proposed animated special of Maurice…

Objects from Sendak Interview on The Colbert Report

One of Maurice Sendak's last interviews was a two-part segment aired on The Colbert Report in January 2012. The humorous interviews addressed Sendak’s thoughts about children's book writing and his opinions on Stephen Colbert’s desire to publish a children’s book. The Colbert Report has subsequently donated a number of objects…

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