Cotsen Children’s Library Receives the 2015 Carle Honors Angel Award!


An angel from a manuscript copybook of arithmetic problems (1715-16) by fourteen- year-old John Binford of Devon, Cotsen 46473, p. 8.

Corinna Cotsen (left); Andrea Immel (right)

Corinna Cotsen (at the podium); Andrea Immel (to her left) accepting the Carle Angel Award.

September 24th at the 10th Annual Carle Honors Princeton’s Cotsen Children’s Library was named an “Angel” for its efforts to raise awareness of the picture book as art form and influence in the wider culture. The Carle Honors Awards celebrate individuals and institutions whose creative vision and dedication are an inspiration to everyone who values pictures books and their role in arts education and literacy.  The annual awards are selected by a committee chaired by Leonard S. Marcus, founder of the Honors, and recognize achievement in four areas:

  • Artist, for lifelong innovation in the field;
  • Mentor, editors, designers, and educators who champion the art form;
  • Angel, whose generous resources are crucial to making picture book art exhibitions, education programs and related projects a reality;
  • Bridge,  individuals who have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields.
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Detail from p. 110


The other 2015 Carle Award winners were Helen Oxenbury (Artist), Neal Porter (Mentor) and Joan Bertin (Bridge).

More info on The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

The Cotsen Children’s Library was represented by its curator, Dr. Andrea Immel and Corinna Cotsen, the daughter of donor Lloyd E. Cotsen, ’50 and Emeritus Charter Trustee of Princeton University, Corinna is also an architect, artist, collector, and long-time board member of the Craft and Folk Arts Museum in Los Angeles.

Corinna thanked the Carle on behalf of her father, who was unable to attend the ceremony at Guastavino’s.  In sharing anecdotes about growing up in a household where both parents were book collectors, Corinna emphasized that her mother was an equal partner with her father in creating the family collection that became the Cotsen Children’s Library.

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Detail from p. 70

Andrea offered the following thoughts:

I’d like to share a memory of Bobbie and Eric Carle, the guardian angels of the Carle Honors, whom we all wish could be here with us tonight.  When the Museum of Picture Book Art was still a gleam in the Carles’ eyes, they came to see the Cotsen gallery, which then housed an interactive exhibition whose centerpiece was a fourteen-foot-tall book.  I sensed that Bobbie and Eric were going to strike out in a different direction in pursuit of their dream and I thought more power to them!  Their visit and subsequent ones from Nick Clark sparked a sense of kinship between our two institutions, which share a mission to promote the picture book genre through public programs, exhibitions, and publications.  The Carle accentuates the contemporary, the Cotsen Children’s Library the historical because of its rich collection of illustrated materials for children in all formats from around the world and across time.  Because of Mr. Cotsen’s inspired and voracious buying, the research collection offers the general public and scholars many ways to discover why the picture book is a major form of the illustrated book, with enormous potential for shaping the values that mold minds through the power of word and image.  That goes for big people as well as little ones!  Thank you for this vote of confidence in the work Team Cotsen has done over the last seventeen years.  From the outreach coordinator to the rare books cataloger, from the graphic designer to the gallery fabricator, we have experienced nothing but joy in realizing our angel Mr. Cotsen’s vision of a living library at Princeton–and we’re not about to stop.

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Detail from p. 82

While there wasn’t enough time at the ceremony to individually thank all of Team Cotsen’s angels, here is a roster of their names.  They all earned their wings through  hard work, creativity, and can-do attitude.

Mark Argetsinger, Jeffrey Barton, Judson Beaumont, Bonnie Bernstein, James Bradberry, Minjie Chen, Ian Dooley, Carolyn Hoeschele, Eric Johnson, Miriam Jankewicz, Isabella Palowich, Aaron Pickett, Daniel Rooker, Heather Shannon, Dana Sheridan, Henry Smith-Miller, Emily Strayer, Eduardo Tennenbaum, IvyTrent.

And we couldn’t have done it without the contributions of the many talented Princeton student assistants and wonderful part-time project staffers in Cotsen West over the years.

Last but not least, a special thanks to the University Librarian Karin Trainer and Associate University Librarians for Rare Books and Special Collections, William Joyce, Ben Primer, and Stephen Ferguson for their support of the flight plan for the Cotsen Children’s Library.

If you want to see more Cotsen / Carle collaboration, check out this blog post from our outreach blog about a program that Dr. Dana was invited to do at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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Detail from p. 34

It’s Time for “Stump the Chump!” Can You Solve These Puzzlers from 1748????

This is for all our readers who have been thinking that there really ought to be a post about math and science once in a while.

Yesterday I was looking at the three editions of Arithmetic Made Familiar and Easy to Young Gentlemen and Ladies, the second volume in The Circle of Sciences published by the famous 18th-century English children’s book publisher, John Newbery.  The Circle was designed as a set of books that was supposed to give young Britons everything necessary for successful careers in business and for the fulfillment of their civic duties.  John Locke considered chronology, geography, grammar, handwriting, logic, poetry, and rhetoric essential and all these subjects were covered in The Circle.

Like all the volumes in the set, Arithmetic Made Familiar and Easy is written in the form of a catechism, or a series of questions and answers.  Although this sounds as dry as dust to us, the catechism was considered a kind of directed conversation and conversation trumped lecture in eighteenth-century educational theory as a lively but coherent way of presenting a body of information.

The Circle of Sciences remained in print for decades, probably because the volume editors made genuine attempts to engage young readers.  The editor of Arithmetic Made Familiar and Easy went to some trouble to give his readers more than tables and huge horrible sums, as the Church Mice called them.  There’s a description of an abacus.   Changing ringing is used as an example of a arithmetical progression and thank heavens it’s shorter than Lord Peter Whimsey’s calculations in Dorothy Sayers’s The Nine Taylors…  To show how to total an invoice, the editor drews up a bill of the sort school boys were presented for purchases of apples, gingerbread, marbles, and oranges.  A multiplication problem showed how to figure out the costs of x number of yards of lace so a fashionable miss could check her tradesman’s bill for mistakes or overcharges.

There are also witty word problems.   Our first puzzler from Arithmetic Made Familiar is in verse and it seems to have been a golden oldie.  It had been circulating at least since 1708, where it appeared as an example of “vulgar arithmetic” in The Ladies Diary or Womens Almanack.

When first the Marriage-Knot was ty’d

Betwixt my Wife and me,

My Age did hers as far exceed

As three times three does three:

But after ten and half ten Years

We Man and Wife had been,

Her Age came up as near to mine,

As eight is to sixteen.

Got that?   Now try our second puzzler:

A Man overtaking a Maid who was driving a Flock of Geese, said to her, Good-morrow, Sweetheart, whether are you going with your 99 Geese?  Sir, said she, you mistake the Number; for if I had as many more, and half as many more and one fourth Part as many, then I should have but 99.  The Question is, how many Geese she had?

Readers are invited to submit solutions to one or both of the puzzlers in the comments. Staff members of Car Talk, you are ineligible to enter this competition! The answers will be posted next week.