September: Child’s Play


Our final gallery is for the young and young-at-heart, featuring some of the surprising places that children pop up in our collection.

Scroll down to discover more about each image.

Acrobat Apprentice. Until 1917, when Violet Moore Higgins published her children’s book The Little Juggler, the Juggler of Notre Dame had always been portrayed as an adult. In Higgins’ retelling, young Rene is apprenticed to an evil travelling performer before monks take him in.

Violet Moore Higgins, The Little Juggler, and Other French Tales Retold (Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co., 1917).

Nested Non-Fiction. Berkeley-based artist Maryline Poole Adams used Matryoshkas, or Russian nesting dolls, as inspiration for both the form and content of her book. Each of the first four tiny volumes has another volume nested inside – and the fifth and final volume measures only one-and-a-half inches tall!

Maryline Poole Adams, Matryoshka (Berkeley, CA: Poole Press, 1993).

The Christ Child. Baby Jesus reaches out an arm to embrace his mother in this wooden Madonna. Carved in France in the 13th century, the statue dates from around the time that the Juggler of Notre Dame’s story was first written down.

Learn more about this object on Dumbarton Oaks’s website.

Grisélidis: An Opera Poster. Young Loys gazes out to sea, in the direction of his father’s travels, while the Devil tries to tempt his mother into infidelity. The composer of this opera was Jules Massenet, who also composed the successful opera Le Jongleur de Notre Dame.

Francois Flameng, lithograph poster for Massenet’s Grisélidis (c. 1901).

Step Right Up! A crowd of children and adults watch excitedly as the Juggler performs in this brightly-colored illustration by Maurice Lalau.

Anatole France, Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame, illustrated by Maurice Lalau (Paris: A. Ferroud — F. Ferroud, 1924).