Want to know what Thomas Edison, Beatrix Potter, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller had in common?
In the late 1920's Mrs. Katherine Watson, a creative Children's Librarian at the Denver Public Library, had a great idea to get the children of Denver excited about reading by highlighting the books famous people of the time enjoyed reading as children. She wrote letters to 140 well-known men and women, ranging from authors to politicians to adventurers, asking what their favorite books were as kids. She sent a typed list of popular children's books, so the recipients could easily place a check next to their favorites and return the list. On the lists were classics like Little Women, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and The Jungle Book. Some people simply indicated the books they loved and returned the signed list, while others wrote charming letters in response. Beatrix Potter wrote two letters addressed to "The Children Friends in Denver." Mrs. Watson displayed these letters and promoted the books on the list during National Children's Book Week.
Today, some of the staff at the Children's Library took a field trip to the Western History and Genealogy department to see some of the responses. We were able to touch actual letters written by the likes of Maxfield Parrish, L. M. Montgomery, and Lois Lenski. We were blown away by holding papers touched by so many heroes. If you're interested in seeing any of these amazing documents, visit the Western History and Genealogy Department. I highly recommend it!