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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Press Release Fun: Curious George Goes to the Museum

I confess to you that I’m rather thrilled about this current exhibit at the Jewish Museum.  Though I didn’t grow up a Curious George fan, I love seeing the papers and sketches of classic characters by their creators.  From the press release:

Press contacts: Anne Scher or Alex Wittenberg
212.423.3271 or



New York, NY – In conjunction with its new exhibition, Curious George Saves the Day, The Jewish Museum is presenting two related programs. Author Louise Borden will give a lecture on the wartime journey of Margret and H. A. Rey, creators of Curious George, on April 8. A three-part daytime lecture series on the Reys and their lives and careers with scholar Leonard Marcus will be offered on March 18, and April 1 and 8.

For further information regarding programs at The Jewish Museum, the public may call 212.423.3337.

Tickets for lectures, film screenings and concerts at The Jewish Museum can now be purchased online at the Museum’s Web site,

Curious George, the impish monkey protagonist of many adventures, may never have seen the light of day if it were not for the determination and courage of his creators: illustrator H. A. Rey (1898–1977) and his wife, author and artist Margret Rey (1906–1996). They were both born in Hamburg to Jewish families and lived together in Paris from 1936 to 1940. Hours before the Nazis marched into the city in June 1940, the Reys fled on bicycles carrying drawings for their children’s stories including one about a mischievous monkey, then named Fifi. Not only did they save their animal characters, but the Reys themselves were saved by their illustrations when authorities found them in their belongings. This may explain why saving the day after a narrow escape became the premise of most of their Curious George stories. After their fateful escape from Paris and a four-month journey across France, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, the couple reached New York in the fall of 1940. In all, the Reys authored and illustrated over thirty books, most of them for children, with seven of them starring Curious George. The exhibition at The Jewish Museum, on view from March 14 to August 1, 2010, will feature nearly eighty original drawings of the beloved monkey and other characters, preparatory dummy books, vintage photographs, and documentation related to the Reys’ escape from Nazi Europe, as well as a specially designed reading room for visitors of all ages.


An infrared assistive listening system for the hearing impaired is available for programs in the Museum’s S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Auditorium.

The Mildred and George Weissman Program has been endowed by Paul, Ellen and Dan Weissman in honor of their parents.



Thursday, April 8 at 6:30 pm

The Mildred and George Weissman Lecture



In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled their home in Paris as the German army advanced. They began their journey to freedom on bicycles, pedaling south to Orléans and continuing by train to southern France with children’s book manuscripts among their few possessions. One such manuscript went on to become the story of Curious George. Author Louise Borden chronicles the Reys’ remarkable journey in an engaging illustrated lecture tracing their route from France via Spain, Portugal and Brazil to the United States.


Louise Borden is the author of The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey.


Tickets: $15 general public; $12 students/over 65; $10 Jewish Museum members


Thursdays, March 18, April 1 and April 8 at 11:30 am

Daytime Lecture Series



March 18

Curious George Saves The Day: The Story Of Margret And H. A. Rey’s Harrowing Flight From Nazi Europe To America

This illustrated lecture tells the story of Margret and H. A. Rey’s escape from Nazi occupied France in 1940.  Both were German Jewish artists in pre-World War II Europe.  Recognizing imminent threat, the Reys made their way from Paris to New York, to a new life as creators of America’s favorite monkey and other classic children’s stories.


April 1

A New Deal For The Nursery: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts And Democratized American Publishing

A look at modern American publishing’s most audacious attempt to make quality children’s books affordable for everyone. Little Golden Books is a popular children’s book series that began in 1942 and first sold for 25 cents a piece.


April 8

Picture Book Bohemia: The Reys Of Greenwich Village

In this illustrated talk, Leonard Marcus considers Greenwich Village during the 1940s as a creative quarter for children’s books.  Here was the home not only of Margret and H. A. Rey, but also Robert McCloskey (Make Way for Ducklings), Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Moon), Marjorie Flack (The Story About Ping) and many more of the field’s greats.


Leonard Marcus is a noted children’s book historian, author and critic.


Tickets: $45 entire series; $20 single lecture


Public Programs at The Jewish Museum are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Major annual support is provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency. The audio-visual system has been funded by The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc., and by New York State Assembly Member Jonathan Bing. 

About The Jewish Museum


Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent United States institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture. The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects—paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. 


General Information


Museum hours are Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, 11am to 5:45pm; Thursday, 11am to 8pm; and Friday, 11am to 4pm. Museum admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for senior citizens, $7.50 for students, free for children under 12 and Jewish Museum members. Admission is free on Saturdays. For general information on The Jewish Museum, the public may visit the Museum’s website at or call 212.423.3200. The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan.

Be nice to me next time you’re at my library and I’ll show you the Rey’s signatures in our old guestbooks.  No fooling.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Monica Edinger says:

    But what about the smells catalog (from when you were across from MOMA)? Is that still available curious eyes as well?

  2. Boy, THAT is a good question.

    For the curious, Monica is referring to a log we kept at the Donnell Library. We were adjacent to a restaurant who would later buy the library building. Periodically the children’s room (and insofar as I knew ONLY the children’s room) would find itself on the receiving end of a variety of smells. Employees of the children’s room over the years kept a smell log. Sometimes the entries were direct (“Burnt toast”). Sometimes they were creative (“A fine bit of boeuf bourguignon with some potato gratin, and a fine wine on the side that is fruity, if not a little mellow”).

    We have since moved and I’m sure I brought the smell log along. If only I could remember where I put it . . .