Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Painted Pig by Elizabeth Morrow

Lucie Brown Ballantyne (1880-1957), and her brother, Robert Morrow Brown's (1877-?) mother, Mary Virginia Morrow Brown (c1857-1890) was a sister to James Morrow.

James Morrow's son Dwight (1873-1931) was a businessman, politician and diplomat.  He was a classmate of Calvin Coolidge at Amherst College in the early 1890s, married his college sweetheart Elizabeth Reeve Cutter in 1903, and became a partner in J.P. Morgan and Co., in 1913.  They were parents of four children, including Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

President Coolidge appointed Dwight Morrow Ambassador to Mexico where he served from 1927-1930.

Elizabeth Morrow (1873-1955) of Cleveland, was the daughter of Charles Long Cutter and Annie E. Spencer and was a poet as well as the author of two children's books, one of which, The Painted Pig she signed and inscribed for Jean Ballantyne on October 6, 1930, the year it was published.

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Summary: When the toymaker forgets to make him a piggy bank, a young Mexican boy finds some clay and tries to make one of his own. Includes historical notes on Mexican folk art and the author's experiences in Mexico as the wife of the United States ambassador in the 1920s.

From information about the book: This delightful picture book, first published in 1930, was written for children, but as a beautiful evocation of an era of awakening American interest in Mexican art and culture it will appeal to adults as well. The author, Elizabeth Morrow, first went to Mexico in 1927, when her husband, Dwight Morrow, was appointed American ambassador. The story is about a remarkable painted pig with a savings bank manner and a very stylish rosebud tail. The pig belongs to Pita, and is coveted by her younger brother, Pedro. Pancho, “The Toymaker” in the market, promises to make another one, but between the promise and the delivery is a wonderful story-telling journey.
The Painted Pig was inspired by the extraordinary collection of Mexican toys created by the author’s friend RenĂ© d’Harnoncourt, who illustrated the book.

A facsimile of the first edition, published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2001, includes an introduction by a folklorist who knew Mrs. Morrow when he was a boy and an afterword by two of her granddaughters.

“Color, rhythm and a true understanding of children . . . set this book apart. It is in no way derivative, nor can it be compared with any other book.”—New York Herald Tribune

The Painted Pig is one of several books in the Uible/Ballantyne vintage book collection which also includes some of Robert Morrow Brown's books from the late 1890s.

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