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News Release

October 17, 2006


Barbara Palmer, News Service: (650) 724-6184,

Library event to honor creator of Harold, of purple crayon fame

On Oct. 20-21, Stanford University Libraries will host a two-day celebration of cartoonist and illustrator David Johnson Leisk, better known as Crockett Johnson, the creator of the comic strip Barnaby and the 1955 children's book Harold and the Purple Crayon.

The event, "A Centenary Celebration of Crockett Johnson," on Friday will focus on Johnson's life and work and will feature speakers including Johnson's biographer, Philip Nel, associate professor of English at Kansas State University. Speakers on Saturday, including William Gosling, the curator of the Children's Literature Collection at the University of Michigan, and Seth Lerer, professor of English and of comparative literature at Stanford, will examine the role of children's literature in academic libraries.

The event will celebrate the gift of a major collection of materials by and about Johnson (1906-1975) to Stanford University Libraries from collector Irwin "Toby" Holtzman.

The conference will begin at 1 p.m. on Oct. 20. Admission is free, but those who plan to attend are requested to pre-register by e-mail to More information and an event schedule are available at


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