Remembering Esther Hautzig
I started working at the Central Children’s Room at the Donnell Branch of NYPL around four years ago. While working there I often spoke with author Esther Hautzig, an author and volunteer who dedicated much of her time and energy to the place. Esther was lovely, and I understood her to be an author. What I did not understand was her history, and how it informed her work over the years.
At the age of nine, in 1939, Esther and her family were put on a deportation train by the invading Russian army and shipped to Siberia. This later appeared in her memoir for children, The Endless Steppe. After that she was sent to America and eventually ran the publicity and library services department for the Thomas Y. Crowell Company back in the ’50s and 60s. She wrote even more and she died at the age of 79. She was a friend of many, including author/illustrator Uri Shulevitz.
As one friend of mine said, "She is the kind of person who’ll never appear in a history of publishing but contributed so much to the children’s books field when it was all librarians and retailers had not yet reared their ugly, Mammon-worshipping, heads."
You can read the SLJ tribute to Esther here.
You may also wish to read a rather fascinating tribute to her by M.B. Goffstein here as well.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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