Richard Scarry, American children's book illustrator
Biography of artist Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry was the talented writer and illustrator of at least 300 books. Worldwide sales of over 300 million copies.
I have searched the Internet and compiled, in chronological order, the major events in Richard Scarry's life. Some websites contradict each other, and some are direct cut-and-paste plagiarized versions of each others' websites!
But I have tried to narrow down the information that makes sense and is validated by several sources. Keep in mind that this may not all be accurate, but I tried to form a timeline that will hopefully paint a partial picture of Richard Scarry's life.
Richard Scarry - Biographical Timeline
Life and Work
June 5, 1919: Richard McClure Scarry was born in Boston MA. He had three brothers, John James, Edward and Leo.
(Date): At his father's urging, he attended but dropped out of business school - he didn't like it.
1939 to 1942: Studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
(Date?): Moved to New York and began work as a freelance illustrator.
(Date?): Archipenko Art School, Woodstock, NY
(Date?): Eliot O'Hara Watercolor School, Gooserocks Beach, ME
1942-1946: Drafted and served in the U.S. Army as an art director, editor, and writer of information publications in North Africa and Italy.
1945: Worked for art department of Vogue Magazine/Conde Nast Publication for two weeks, but was fired with no explanation except that he wasn't "right" for the position. (their loss)
1947: Began illustrating books
1948: Married Patricia ("Patsy") Murphy, a writer of children's textbooks. Some sources say they met at a cocktail party, some say it was during a collaborative work project. (care to place bets?)
1949: First book, Two Little Miners published by Little Golden Books. Five other children's books were published by Simon and Schuster.
1951: The Great Car and Truck Book published (some sources claim this was his first book, not Two Little Miners. The Great Car and Truck Book featured human characters, not animals.
1959: Moved with his family from Ridgefield, CT to Westport.
1963: Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever published
1965: Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World published
1966: Storybook Dictionary published
1968: Family moved to Lausanne, Switzerland
1968-69: Switched publishers from Little Golden Books to Random House
1972: Purchased chalet/studio in Gstaad. Worked on writing and illustrating from 8 am to 4 pm, telling his wife only to interrupt him for lunch.
Over the next few years he traveled with his wife in Africa and the Far East.
1973: Richard Scarry's Please and Thank You Book is published.
1976: Receives some hate mail and is accused of racism and sexism presence in his books - Random House alters and reissues some book editions. New York Times: Richard Scarry's People Human and Sexist Pigs (the term "Political Correctness" has not yet been coined)
1980s: Eyesight worsens, due to macular degeneration.
1985: Finished drawings for the Biggest Word Book Ever
April 30, 1994: Richard Scarry died in Gstaad, Switzerland at age 74. He had Cancer of the Esophagus which probably led to his fatal heart attack. Richard Scarry's New York Times Obituary. His wife Patsy died in 1995.
Biographies of Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry was a fairly private person, so he didn't give many interviews, but here are the biographies I could find.
- Scarry, Richard Biography
"Richard Scarry was born in Boston. His father owned a store, and the family lived in comfortable circumstances, even during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Scarry was raised in the atmosphere of love, care and respect, which is reflected in his b
- Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry (1919-1994) By Charles Spradlin - Richard Scarry, my favorite author as a child, was an author and illustrator of children's books for over thirty years. Born on June 5, 1919, he died in 1994 at the age of 75. He published over three h
Richard Scarry Books - available from Amazon
Great Author and Illustrator
One of my favorite things about Richard Scarry is the way he illustrated books for children. Sure, the parents love them too, but if you look closely, he put all the little extras in his books that make them a secret world between the book and the child's imagination.
Looking at one of his learning and yet comic type books like Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, you can search each page for Goldbug ... a fun and friendly little bug character who could be anywhere, doing anything.
In a more 'seriously' illustrated book by Scarry, like the classic Golden book The Gingerbread Man, you can notice the little cat licking his lips below the table, hoping to get to eat the Gingerbread Man himself! Closer inspection of the drawings show all kinds of insects - ladybugs, grasshoppers, ants. All those little things weren't necessary to the illustrations. But they ARE there, and they're what make his illustrations truly special and fun.
Richard Scarry Videos
Other Pages About Children's Book Authors & Illustrators
- Robert McCloskey, Author of Make Way for Ducklings & more
Robert McCloskey was a children's book author and illustrator, probably best known for the picture book, Make Way for Ducklings. He is also known for the series of books on the ingenious Homer Price - a boy who fixed a doughnut machine so well, it wo
Suggestions, corrections, altercations? I would love to hear from you.