News and Events

“Happy Birthday, Maurice!” © The Maurice Sendak Foundation.

Happy Birthday, Maurice!
UConn Archives & Special Collections Blog
June 10, 2020

Today marks what would have been Maurice Sendak’s 92nd birthday and the 8th anniversary since his death on May 8, 2012.To honor Maurice Sendak’s birthday anniversary, it feels appropriate to celebrate with The Birthday Party (1957), one of eight collaborations between Sendak and children’s book author Ruth Krauss (1901-1993) between 1952 and 1960. The Birthday Party follows a young boy, David, who “had been everywhere” except to a birthday party. He arrives home one day and after searching through the rooms in the house, finally finds everyone in the dining room singing “Happy Birthday dear David” and only then does he realize that not only is he at a birthday party but that the birthday is his own.

The Birthday Party charms. A petite book accordingly sized for children’s hands, the images consist of ink drawings with yellow and grey washes. David wanders alone from a scene of a beach, the woods, and a street corner until he reaches the party and suddenly, turning from one page of David peering into a dark room to another, everyone comes into full view. He is surrounded by smiling adults and a young girl, candles set in cupcakes raised high in the air. Sendak’s imagery captures Ruth Krauss’ playful use of rhythm and David’s surprise, delight and joy.

The Birthday Party is a gentle reminder to celebrate the special days of one’s life and to cherish those fleeting moments. Happy Birthday, dear Mr. Sendak! Read the complete blog post on UConn Archives & Special Collections Blog.


Reading is Fun! International Year of the Child 1979 by Maurice Sendak
Reading is Fun! International Year of the Child 1979. Printed poster, 36 ½ x 23 ½ inches. The Maurice Sendak Collection. © The Maurice Sendak Foundation.

Reading is Fun!
Archives & Special Collections Gallery
March 16-May 8, 2020

To mark the 20th anniversary of the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which recognized, among other rights, children’s rights to education, play, a supportive environment, and healthcare, the United Nations General Assembly declared 1979 as the International Year of the Child (IYC). This exhibition uses this historically significant year for children’s rights to frame the evolving discourse on children’s literature and the importance of literacy. Exploring from a bird’s eye view the international and national concerns around IYC through pamphlets and booklets published in 1979, the exhibition’s attention pivots to changes in the approach of how standards in children’s literature were challenged. These changes in the creation and authorship of children’s books led to pioneering scholars who, recognizing the potential and need for scholarship, advocated children’s literature as a serious field of study. These contemporary conversations and concerns brought up by artists, scholars, and international and national institutions echo the sentiments expressed in the ten principles outlined in the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child: ultimately, that while reading is fun, reading and access to education is a right.

While this exhibition is not open to the public due to measures taken by UConn in response to COVID-19, you can experience an online version of the exhibition.







Logo: Melica Bloom

d’Archive Episode 33: The Maurice Sendak Collection
Podcast by Graham Stinnett
December 25, 2019

This episode of d’Archive features a conversation with Project Archivist for The Maurice Sendak Collection, Clara Nguyen, about the many facets of the collection and the man. The Sendak collection has received nothing but praise since its donation to UConn in 2018. Clara takes us on an audio tour of some of her favorite pieces from the collection as we record on-site at the Archives & Special Collections in the John P. McDonald Reading Room. Listen to the complete d’Archive episode on WHUS UConn’s Sound Alternative.

Graham is an Archivist overseeing the Human Rights and Alternative Press Collections at the UConn Library, Archives & Special Collections. His work focuses on the archivist as activist and expanding access to archives for a diverse audience. His personal interests deal with settler colonialism in antebellum Kansas Territory and Civil War memory.


Final artwork of title page for In the Night Kitchen (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), The Maurice Sendak Collection. Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library. © The Maurice Sendak Foundation.

In the Night Kitchen: 50 Years Later  
A Symposium and Celebration of the Art of Maurice Sendak 

Friday, November 15th, 2019, 10:30 am to 6:30 pm 

Doris & Simon Konover Auditorium 
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center 
405 Babbidge Road, Storrs, CT 

In 1969, Maurice Sendak wrote excitedly of In the Night Kitchen, “I’m mad for it-and it’s mad.” Published a year later, the exuberant nakedness of its hero, Mickey, led to its being banned from certain libraries, and even today there are those who think it is inappropriate for children. Often lost in the discussion of censorship is the book’s theme of creativity.   

Please join us for a symposium bringing together scholars and artists to explore the often hidden processes that transform inspiration and imagination into the illustrated book. The day will culminate with a reception to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of In the Night Kitchen and the recent partnership of The Maurice Sendak Foundation and UConn Archives & Special Collections.  


10:30-10:45 Coffee 
10:45-11:00 Introduction
11:00-12:30 In the Night Kitchen in Context Moderated by Jonathan Weinberg, Artist and Curator, Maurice Sendak Foundation 
Michael Lobel, Professor of Art History, Hunter College, CUNY 
Lara Saguisag, Associate Professor, College of Staten Island, CUNY 
Katharine Capshaw, Professor of English, University of Connecticut 
12:30-1:30 Break for Lunch  
1:30-2:00 Sendak on Sendak 
A selection of clips from interviews with Maurice Sendak
2:00-3:15 The Making of In the Night Kitchen and the Art of the Picture Book A discussion of Sendak’s complex process of creating picture books moderated by Barbara McClintock, Artist 
Arthur Yorinks, Writer and Maurice Sendak Collaborator 
Lynn Caponera, President, The Maurice Sendak Foundation 
Michael di Capua, Editor and Art Director 
3:15-3:30 The Maurice Sendak Young Illustrators’ Prize at the University Connecticut 
Presentation and discussion of winning pieces 
3:30-5:30 UConn Illustration Student Workshop/Critique  
Led by Alison Paul, Associate Professor of Illustration, University of Connecticut  
3:45-4:00 Break 
4:00-4:30 Tour of exhibition, “Into the Night: Inspirations and Influences in Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen”
4:30-6:30 Reception


Final artwork of frontispiece for In the Night Kitchen (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), The Maurice Sendak Collection. Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library. © The Maurice Sendak Foundation.

First Look at Sendak Collection Items: In the Night Kitchen Exhibit
Kenneth Best, UConn Today
November 12, 2019

The first public exhibition of items in The Maurice Sendak Collection at UConn is “Into the Night: Inspirations and Influences in Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen,” which celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the most important books by the award-winning children’s author and illustrator.

The exhibition, curated by UConn’s Archives and Special Collections, is on display in the gallery at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in Storrs through Dec. 20.

In 1969, Sendak wrote excitedly of In the Night Kitchen. “I’m mad for it-and it’s mad,” he noted about the book that tells the tale of a sleeping boy’s dream about searching for milk to help bake a cake. Published a year later, the exuberant nakedness of its hero, Mickey, led to its being banned from certain libraries, and even today there are those who think it is inappropriate for children.

The exhibition includes the multi-layered and various inspirations and influences found in In the Night Kitchen such as Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Winsor McKay’s comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland. Other highlights are the artwork and process materials for the book as well as an exploration of the book’s censorship and public reaction. Read the complete article on UConn Today.



From ‘Wild Horses’ to ‘Wild Things,’ a Window Into Maurice Sendak’s Creative Process
Kate Capshaw and Cora Lynn Deibler, UConn Today
March 19, 2019

Dummy for Where the Wild Things Are (1963), 44:9, The Maurice Sendak Collection. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Library. © The Maurice Sendak Foundation.

Fans of “Where the Wild Things Are,” Maurice Sendak’s most famous book, might know every page by heart.

But few know the winding path it took from idea to published book – a gestation process that involved experimentation, playfulness and persistence.

As professors of children’s literature and illustration, we are thrilled to witness the arrival of The Maurice Sendak Collection at the University of Connecticut’s Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center. The collection – which contains Sendak’s original sketches, book dummies, artwork and final drafts of his work, amounting to nearly 10,000 items – allows us to begin to trace the trajectory of Sendak’s creative process.

It contains evidence of Sendak’s prodigious imagination and lifelong intellectual curiosity, and offers insight into how Sendak developed his ideas over time.

The making of “Where the Wild Things Are” was a journey, and the vivid materials in Sendak’s archive illuminate the level of investment that was required to complete it. Read the complete article on UConn Today.




Renowned author and illustrator Maurice Sendak signs books at the UConn Coop bookstore on April 28, 1981. (Jo Lincoln Photo, courtesy of Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library)

UConn Archives to House Maurice Sendak Artwork
Kenneth Best, UConn Today
February 21, 2018

The finished artwork for his published books, and certain manuscripts, sketches, and other related materials created by Maurice Sendak, considered the leading artist of children’s books in the 20th century, will be hosted and maintained at the University of Connecticut under an agreement approved today by UConn’s Board of Trustees.

The Maurice Sendak Foundation will continue to own the artwork and source materials for books such as Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There, which will serve as a resource for research by students, faculty, staff, scholars and the general public through the Department of Archives & Special Collections in the UConn Library. The housing of The Maurice Sendak Collection at UConn is being supported by a generous grant from The Maurice Sendak Foundation.

“You would only have to spend an afternoon with Maurice to know that he was the ultimate mentor and nurturer of talent,” says Lynn Caponera, president of The Maurice Sendak Foundation. “He profoundly admired UConn’s dedication to the art of the book, both in its collections and in its teachings. We, the friends who he entrusted to carry on his legacy through the Foundation, couldn’t be more pleased with this exciting collaboration.” Read the complete article on UConn Today.