Stories — Who Made Me?

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 2

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 2

My maternal grandfather, Garth Williams, didn't live a life that can be summarized in a blog post. He lived in at least five countries, married four times, had six biological children and a stepson over a span of nearly forty years, played classical guitar, restored an old hacienda in Mexico, and illustrated dozens and dozens of children's books including classics such as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, the Little House in the Prairie series, the Rescuers series, the Cricket in Times Square series, and Bedtime for Frances. Listing those book titles makes me feel antsy, because so many other books are missing. Equally delightful books....

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My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 1

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams - part 1

Many artists have to carve our their career path in families where no one understands their creative urge. Not so for me.  The most objectively successful person in my family was an artist  ...my grandfather, children's book illustrator, Garth Williams. My parents' wedding invitation, illustrated by Garth Williams. Detail of my parents' wedding invitation — Garth Williams self portrait, sleeping under a tree.  "Grandpapa Garth" was already living in Mexico when I was born. He had already illustrated Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, the Little House in the Prairie series and many other books.  We didn't see each other often. My family lived in...

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My artist great-grandparents

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

My artist great-grandparents

I'm still reeling from the discoveries I made last month about my ancestors. It's a little hard to know how to move on from there since there's so much more to learn and read about slavery and the sugar trade in the West Indies, but I'm committed to this project of exploring my family history and writing about new members of the family each month. This is probably a good time to draw a diagram to show who's who. This diagram only shows the relatives I've written about so far, and how they're connected to me, so some names and great chunks of...

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Who is lurking in my family tree?

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

Who is lurking in my family tree?

Last month I figured out that I'm a 4th generation artist. I came across a photograph of my great-grandmother at her painting easel, and the legacy hit me. I decided to start a 12 month research and writing project about my family. I thought I would begin with my great-grandmother. My great-grandmother Dé's picture was what spurred me into this process.And since she's from that first generation of artists, it seemed like a good place to start.I asked my aunt Dilys to email me some photos of Dé, since I only had the one from the book. (Dilys is younger than...

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Who made me?

Posted by Estyn Hulbert on

Who made me?

Whenever the topic of my extended family comes up in conversation it doesn’t take long to confuse my friends. There’s a U-boat captain, a suffragette, and a whole bunch of missionaries. And there’s generation after generation moving back and forth across the globe, living in Scotland, India, France, Canada, Mexico, Barbados, Australia, the US… no wonder my friends are confused, I can barely keep track myself. Last year a biography of my grandfather, illustrator Garth Williams, was published. He is known for illustrating dozens of children's books, including Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and the Little House in the Prairie series.   When...

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