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.
Page 110

Another angel on p. 110 of the John Binford copybook.

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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A pair of angels on p. 70 of the John Binford copybook.

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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Angel on p. 82 of the John Binford copybook.

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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Angels in hats from p. 34 of the John Binford copybook.

The Tiger Mr. Cotsen Sent: An F.A.O. Schwartz Memory

The day before the Cotsen gallery opened to the public on Halloween 1997 (or was it the day before the dedication on the 30th???),  F. A. O. Schwartz shipped a great big box from Mr. Cotsen the donor to Firestone Library.  What with all the excitement in the countdown to the festivities, I didn’t have a clue what was in it or why Mr. C. had been shopping at one of Manhattan’s premier merchants of dreams.

I really shouldn’t  have been gobsmacked.  When I was Mr. Cotsen’s private librarian working down in the Neutrogena Corporation offices near L.A. International Airport, there were soft sculptures everywhere.  There was a life-sized wolf in an ice cream suit and a homely Holstein wearing a green print dress seated at the reception area.   Sometimes visitors looked askance at the wolf when he was putting the move on the unresponsive cow.   In the halls there was a small roving flock of woolly sheep arranged according to whim of the firm’s executives (or so it was rumored around the water cooler).  Cotsen did inherit Baa-sheba, one of the Neutrogena flock and she hangs out on the second floor of the Wall of Books with Harry the louche bear from the Big Island in Hawaii.

But back to the F. A. O. Schwartz mystery box. It contained a very large, handsome stuffed tiger, who was appointed Cotsen’s official gallery greeter on the spot and without a national search.  He was installed with all due dignity in his new post on top of the Wall of Books, where he has been ever since.  I am happy to report that he has never dropped from his perch in the entryway on unsuspecting children.  That may be because there are enough clever little ones who know to stroke his paw on the way in!

Does the tiger have a name?  Yes, he does…  He was named after Shere Khan, the great striped enemy of the wolf-child Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. 

lec gallery 1997

Mr. C and the employeer in 1997

And here’s to F. A. O. Schwartz.  We’re looking forward to its reopening in a new space somewhere in the Times Square neighborhood soon…

The tiger today, our ever present and proud (though maybe a little timid) mascot

Shere Khan today, our ever present and proud (though maybe uncharacteristically timid) mascot.