Rocco Staino & City Councilman Ben Kallos
Two Literary Landmarks Dedicated on the Same City Block
United for Libraries and the Empire State Center for the Book recently dedicated two Literary Landmarks on the same New York City block. The dedication occurred on Saturday, June 18 on the 300 block of East 57th Street and recognized two apartment buildings.
320 and 333 East 57th Street were selected by the Empire State Center for the Book and were supported by City Councilman Ben Kallos. The buildings were the homes of Erich Maria Remarque and E. L. Doctorow. They become the two closest landmarks anywhere in the nation and the eighteenth and nineteenth landmarks in New York State.
320 East 57th Street, the 1926 Art Deco building, was Erich Maria Remarque’sNew York City home from 1951 until his death in 1970. The author of All Quiet on the Western Front lived there with his wife the actress Paulette Goddard with his last novel, Shadows in Paradise, set in the building. E.L. Doctorow, author of Ragtime, World’s Fair and Homer and Langley in addition to several other works lived at 333 East 57th Street from 2000 until his death in 2015. Members of the Doctorow family attended the dedication and two childhood friends spoke about Doctorow’s early years. One of the friends was the actor Dominic Chianese best known for his role as Uncle Junior in the Sopranos.
Literary Landmark™ for Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder
United for Libraries, in partnership with the New York Library Association, the Empire State Center for the Book and HarperCollins Publishers designated the Wilder Homestead in Burke, New York, as a Literary Landmark™ in honor of author Laura Ingalls Wilder during a celebration on July 11.
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 – 1957) first wrote about her childhood growing up on the American frontier in Little House in the Big Woods (1932). She then immortalized the boyhood home of her husband, Almanzo, in Farmer Boy (1933), the second title in the “Little House” series. The novel chronicled one year in Almanzo’s life on the farm near Malone where he lived and worked from his birth in 1857 until 1875, when his family moved to Minnesota.
The Museum planned a day of celebration in conjunction with their annual art event for children. Adirondack folksinger Roy Hurd performed before the ceremony and the winners of the art contest for fourth graders were announced. Among those attending the dedication was Lisa C. Wemett, President of the Friends of Libraries Section of the New York Library Association (NYLA), representing both the library association and the Empire State Center for the Book.
The Wilder Homestead is the first Literary Landmark™ in northern New York and the sixteenth in New York State. It is the only “Little House” site to receive this recognition from United for Libraries. This original homestead of Almanzo Wilder’s family is on the New York State Register of Historic Places and in December 2014, was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Jim Lusk, Wilder Homestead volunteer, helps the honorary Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder unwrap the Literary Landmark plaque at the historic Wilder Farm museum in Burke, N.Y. Photo: Todd Moe
Museum volunteer Jim Lusk, who portrays Almanzo’s father James Mason Wilder, served as master of ceremonies and helped to unveil the plaque. Homestead Vice-President Ken Carre had constructed a pedestal of locally quarried stone which holds the plaque, surrounded by the kitchen garden at the farmhouse’s entrance. Historian and award-winning author William Anderson of Lapeer, Michigan, spoke about the “Little House” series and the significance of the Wilder family and Homestead to northern New York.
The Wilder Homestead is the first of the "Little House" sites to be given the Literary Landmark designation. Photo: Todd Moe
Anderson took the opportunity to present the 2015 “Laura’s Legacy Award” from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association to Sally House and her late husband Lawrence of Potsdam, New York. Originally of Malone, Mr. and Mrs. House were instrumental in bringing the Wilder farm to the attention of local residents and establishing it as an historical site. The annual award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution toward the preservation of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s legacy.
Center for the Book Recognizes Walter Dean Myers with Literary Landmark
Noted children’s and young adult author, Walter Dean Myers was honored during Children’s Book Week with the dedication of a Literary Landmark. A plaque was unveiled on Monday, May 4 at the George Bruce Branch of the New York Public Library in honor of Myers who used the branch library in his childhood. The event was the kick-off event for Children’s Book Week. Myers who died on July 1, 2014 at the age of 76 was the author of over 100 books and served as the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
The Literary Landmark program is administered by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. This was the fifteenth Literary Landmark in New York State. The Empire State Center for the Book, HarperCollins Publishers, Holiday House, Random House Children’s Books and Scholastic joined together to sponsor the George Bruce site. This was one of five literary landmarks being dedicated around the country during Children’s Book Week.
Walter Dean Myers Walter wrote about growing up in the George Bruce neighborhood and about using the library. We think that it would be a good fit to place the plaque at the George Bruce Branch.
In Walter’s memoir, Bad Boy, he wrote, “Harlem is the first place called ‘home’ that I can remember.” This sentiment is reflected in Walter’s writing, whether via a love letter to the neighborhood in the picture book Harlem; a story of a boy’s trial for a crime committed in Harlem, in the novel Monster; or the tale of two friends struggling to see a future beyond the community they know in the novel Darius & Twig. Walter spent much of his childhood playing basketball on the courts of Harlem and checking books out of the George Bruce Branch of the New York Public Library. Florence Dean taught Walter to read in their kitchen, and when he began attending Public School 125, he could read at a second-grade level. Though Walter struggled through school with a speech impediment and poor grades, and he had trouble with discipline throughout his school career, he remained an avid reader. His love of reading soon progressed to a love of writing.
The Empire State Center for the Book has deemed Carl Schurz Park a Literary Landmark, in honor of its role in the classic children's book, 'Harriet the Spy.' Louise Fitzhugh's novel, itself a landmark in contemporary middle-grade literature, is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.
At the dedication ceremony, editor Beverly Horowitz of Delacorte Press called Harriet M. Welsch “the iconic New York character, a character unlike any other at the time, who paved the way for the books we read now.” She explained that the park “plays a major role in the book: Harriet lived down the street and went to school around the corner.” It was a key spot in Harriet’s spy route. (PW)
Rocco Staino, Director of the Empire State Center for the Book, Margaret Tice, Literary Landmark Volunteer, David Williams, Carl Schurz Conservancy
Walt Whitman Birthplace Association has received official designation as a “Literary Landmark” by United for Libraries. The dedication ceremony was held September 5, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at the Whitman Birthplace.
Joining WWBA in their celebration was NYS Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey, Congressman Steve Israel, NY State Senators Phil Boyle and Carl Marcellino, NYS Assemblyman Fred Thiele, and sponsors which include Lambda Literary Foundation, Suffolk County Library Association, Suffolk School Library Media Association, and the Empire State Center for the Book.
The Yorkville Community School on East 88th Street was named a Literary Landmark by the Empire State Center for the Book and United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. The block is the setting for Bernard Waber’s 1962 children’s book, “The House on East 88th Street,” which introduced the beloved character Lyle the Crocodile to the world.
The Empire State Center for the Book together with United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, dedicated its first Literary Landmark on Long Island on Saturday, July 13, 2013. The groups selected the Windmill on the Southampton Campus of SUNY (State University of New York) Stony Brook. The College Windmill was selected for the honor for the fact that in the summer of 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams lived in the windmill. While there, he wrote an experimental play, The Day on Which a Man Dies, responding to the death of his friend, Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock.
Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine will be dedicated a Literary Landmark on Thursday, November 29, 2012 to recognize the church’s connection with the legendary children’s author, Madeleine L’Engle. The author of the children’s literary classic A Wrinkle in Time (FSG, 1962) served as the church’s librarian for more than 40 years. The event, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Cathedral, followed by Evensong and a reception. L’Engle is a member of the Writers Hall of Fame.