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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Found Objects Define Our Subject

One of the rewarding things about writing a blog and maintaining a Web site is the information that comes through by chance and circumstance.  Joan Hoffman, who curates the Holling collection at the historical society museum in Leslie, Mich., wrote that “a couple interesting Holling things have happening here.” 

She was recently contacted by a doll collector.  “She was scheduled to give a presentation at the Leslie Library and wanted to connect dolls with books and with Leslie if possible,” Joan wrote.  “She wanted to know if there were any dolls in the Holling collection.  There was a lovely Asian doll that probably came from the Hollings’ year-long trip around the world with university students.  Holling was chosen as the art instructor because of a booklet he had put together for a cruise company. 

“The doll collector and her husband arrived at our house just in time for a power outage.  However, we were able to work at our dining room table with the light from a large window.”  Joan reports her visitor went away with photos and data, and contact information for Holling's nieces. One of the nieces had saved a box of 25 dolls that the Hollings had gotten during their travels around the world and given to her each Christmas.  And she provided photos.  “The presentation was last evening and it was nice,” according to Joan.

Rocky Billy: The Story of the Bounding Career of a Rocky Mountain Goat,
by Holling Clancy Holling, 1928. NY The MacMillan Co.
Then there was the recent visit from “an older gentleman who came to our house with a large box of Holling books in excellent condition.  He wanted to give them to the museum.  One book was Rocky Billy, which we didn't have, so I was especially glad to see it.  There were Platt and Munk books that I hadn't seen.  I learned that not all of those P&M folk tale books were illustrated by Holling.  Not only did the publisher do strange things by mixing up the tales, but the illustrators were also switched.”  A true detective, Joan is now trying to sort all of that out.

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