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Friday, January 27, 2017

The Museum Where Holling Lives On

So many writers’ lives remain bound up in the books they wrote, but it’s fortunate that Holling Clancy Holling’s legacy also lives on in a museum in Leslie, Mich.  Leslie is a town of 2,000 people located 28 miles south of Lansing.   

Joan Hoffman has kindly provided information about the Holling collection she curates in a large room downstairs in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall.  The stone building, constructed in 1903 is on Leslie’s main east-west road, 107 East Bellevue, across from City Hall.  (Tel. 517-589-5220)  Besides the Holling collection, she notes, there are displays about the town’s history and the surrounding communities.
The G.A.R. Hall is home to the museum and can be found on Facebook at
“Leslie Area Historical Society and Museum.”  

Among the displays, note the long bow Holling made that is resting on top of the book cabinet.  On the wall are framed original paintings and Holling’s portrait.  Display items are changed periodically and may include items from Holling and Lucille’s adventures or graphic cutouts created for children.

In the front of the glass case are two murals.  They were painted by Holling in 1916 on an upstairs wall at his grandparents’ house on Main Street in Leslie.  Holling stayed with them four years attending high school.  Three families lived in that house after the last of the Hollings left. One family cut these murals out of the wall during a remodeling project.  “It is a miracle they were saved all those years.” Joan says.

The second upstairs mural.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Little Marginalia on Those Illustrations

At times, I feel like Bullwinkle or Rocky visiting Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine to recover the past.  Here are two snippets of intelligence that crossed my desk during the holidays:

First, I saw Nedd Mockler’s 1999 review of Tree in the Trail on Amazon and asked if I might retell his story for you.  He agreed.  He had said, "Fifty-seven years ago at the request of his [my?] mother I visited Holling C. Holling at his California ranch.  I was eight years old.  He asked me to pose for a few sketches he wanted to do.  Later that year he sent me the book Tree in the Trail. Inside the front cover he had written, ‘For Nedd Mockler, who posed for the Indian boy in this book.  With best wishes, Holling C. Holling.’  The inscription is dated "Dec. 1942." 
A color plate from Tree in the Trail
Nedd added, “I have all of his books and enjoy looking at them still.  Lucille Holling, his wife, was a water color artist and helped with many of his projects.”  He added, “I am delighted to hear that a museum has been created and devoted to Holling in Leslie, Michigan.  I would very much like to see photos of the museum and any literature you make available there.  I have a collection of Holling's books, and would appreciate anything you might make available to this 82-year old fan.”  Thanks, Nedd! 

The second item comes from Joan Hoffman in Leslie, Mich.  She adds another insider note about Holling’s models.  “Jack Bickel, young son of the Hollings' friends, Harold and Sally Bickel, posed as the model for the boy in Seabird.  Holling dedicated Seabird to Jack.”  This item of intelligence, she reports, came from one of Holling's letters