The Golden Books exhibition at Penn College evokes nostalgia and appreciation

The Golden Books exhibition at Penn College evokes nostalgia and appreciation

Williamsport, Pennsylvania – America’s beloved little golden book fair opens Wednesday, January 19, at The Gallery in Penn College and offers viewers a range of discoveries from exploring old favorites and appreciating classic illustrations to learning about the fascinating history of the publishing establishment.

“The Golden Legacy: Original Art from 75 Years of Golden Books” is on display through March 30 at the Pennsylvania College of Technology Gallery, located on the third floor of the Madigan Library. Entry is free and open to the public.

An online Zoom chat will also be presented at 7:30pm on Wednesday, February 2, led by curator, Leonard Marcus, one of the world’s leading writers on children’s books and the people who created them. Talk is free but registration is required at

“Golden Legacy” features 65 original illustrations from 51 books published from 1942 to 2017, including such popular classics as “The Poky Little Puppy,” “Tootle,” “I Can Fly,” and “I Am a Bunny.” “. Organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas, the exhibition is the most comprehensive public display of original illustration art from America’s best-known and most important publishing book series.

“The exhibition captures our collective sense of nostalgia, and potential longing for it, and is likely to evoke fond memories,” said Penny Griffin Lutz, gallery director at the College of Pennsylvania. “Golden Books evokes a strong cultural connection to childhood for many adults as they relate to stories and images. Younger audiences may not be familiar with classical images, so the exhibition will be an introduction to a great group of iconic painters.”

Graphic design students at Penn College have already been involved in exploring classic illustrations in class projects, and students in other courses, including English, History, and Sociology, will find valuable content to investigate. Lutz says the show is equally important to enjoyment and education in the community.

Introduced in 1942, Little Golden Books revolutionized American children’s literature by making picture books available at a variety of retail locations for just 25 cents each. One year later, with World War II leading to paper shortages, the books were reduced from 42 to 28 pages. Artists who fled the woes of Europe during that time found a home to work at Little Golden Books, including talented immigrant painters Feodor Rojankovsky and Tibor Gergely.

The rich history of books is shared in the exhibition and will be highlighted in Marcus’ online discussion, “New Deal for Custody: Golden Books and the Democratization of American Children’s Book Publishing.” Marcus will delve into the behind-the-scenes tales of the visionary project that brought together leading artists, writers, and marketing wizards to make Golden Books a household name.

Marcus is the author of a number of books, including “Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon” and “Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books”, and is the editor of “The Annotated Phantom Toolbooth” and “You Can’t Say It!: Book” Young people are talking about censorship and freedom of expression and the stories they have to tell.” Marcus is a founding trustee of the Eric Carle Museum and traveling editor at Astra Publishing, and has written extensively for the New York Times Book Review.

The exhibition “Golden Legacy” at Penn College is dedicated to the late Veronica M. Muzic, a passionate advocate for education and the arts. Muzik joined Williamsport Area Community College, a former college in Pennsylvania, as an English teacher in 1968 and retired from the institution in 2006 as Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean. The college’s first “main teacher” continued his close relationship with the college until her death in 2019.

“Veronica devoted her life to education,” Lutz said. “It was a pleasure to have an exhibition related to early reading and affordable children’s books.”

Many of the original Little Golden Books are still very popular, with “The Poky Little Puppy” topping the list of the 10 best-selling children’s books of all time. The Golden Books backlist is teeming with classics like Dorothy Kunhart’s “Bat the Bunny,” featuring stories and artwork by children’s book legends Mary Blair, Margaret Wise Brown, Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilkins, Garth Williams and others. Today, the Golden Books imprint includes a collection of story books, new books, coloring books, and activities featuring popular licenses, including Disney, Nickelodeon, Barbie, Thomas & Friends, The Cat in the Hat, Sesame Street, Marvel Super Heroes, and DC Super Friends .

“Golden Legacy” is The Gallery’s third show in the 2021-22 season for Penn College. The gallery serves as an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the community, and is dedicated to promoting artistic appreciation through contemporary art exhibitions.

The gallery is open at Penn College from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm; From 1 to 5 pm on Sundays. (The exhibition is closed on Saturdays). Prior to the visit, guests should view the College’s Operations Continuity Plan page for current pandemic guidelines.

For more information about the gallery at Penn College, visit or email or call 570-320-2445.

For more information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, visit or email or call our toll free number 800-367-9222.

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