The NYT reported yesterday on the administration of the the estate of Maurice Sendak, author of the beloved “Where the Wild Things Are”. One of the 3 executors is his caretaker and housekeeper of 30 years (the other 2 are his attorney and the longtime production manager for his publisher). Together they decided to withdraw 10,000 books previously lent to the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia. The museum has since sued the estate claiming that original Beatrix Potter books (“The Tale of Peter Rabbit”) and William Blake owned by Sendak are not children’s books and should be given to the museum per his will which left his children’s books to his foundation. The bulk of the estate will create a museum and study center from his house and a foundation to support emerging artists.
1. Before the NYT ran corrections to the article, I was going to emphasize how important the selection of an executor is. Sendak realized that by naming 3 executors of his large estate.
2. One of the last things we need in this country is another home turned into museum of an artist/author. We have 15,000 already, most of which are underfunded and rarely visited (only 2,300 visitors to the Flannery O’Connor museum this year so far).
3. The argument of the Rosenbach Museum that books by Beatrix Potter are not children’s books is specious. No adult reads her works when not reading bedtime stories to children.
4. Before the lawyers roar their terrible roars, gnash their terrible teeth, and roll their terrible eyes, they should concede that the works of William Blake are not children’s books (pictures aside) and appeal only to a small segment of adults who are impervious to the misspelling of “Tiger.”
Hat tip to Julie Engebrecht for forwarding the NYT article to me.