Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tasha Tudor: 1915-2008

One of the century's great illustrators -- and influences -- has died. Tasha Tudo, age 92, died yesterday, June 18, surrounded by her family and friends. You can read more about her life, and enter your own comments in Tasha's Memory Book, at her memorial website:


Tasha Tudor, 92, was born August 28th, 1915, the daughter of inventor-designer W. Starling Burgess and portrait painter Rosamond Tudor. She spent her childhood in Boston and its outlying towns, as well as Redding, Connecticut.

Encouraged by her mother, her early interest in painting continued to develop. Her first book, Pumpkin Moonshine was published in 1938. That same year she married the late Thomas L. McCready (1907-1966) in Redding, Connecticut.

Tasha Tudor's illustrated Mother's Goose was published in 1944 and the royalties allowed Tasha and Thomas McCready to purchase a large old farm in Webster, NH., where four children, Bethany, Seth, Thomas, and Efner, were raised. Many books were written and/or illustrated from the happenings during her time in this house, such as Linsey Woolsey (1946) and Thistly B (1949).

In 1955, Life magazine reported on the wedding of the McCready family dolls Lieutenant Thaddeus Crane and Melissa Shakespeare which took place at the McCready's farm in New Hampshire. The Dolls were introduced to the public five year earlier in the Dolls’ Christmas (1950).

Tasha Tudor created hundreds of Christmas Cards for the Irene Dash Greeting Card company over a period of many years. These cards are now treasured by collectors.

In 1972 Tasha Tudor fulfilled her dream of living in Vermont and moved to Marlboro, to be near her son Seth Tudor. There she enjoyed her gardens and having family close by, themes that inspired books such as Springs of Joy (1979) and A Time to Keep (1977).

In the early 1990s, in large measure due to the collaborative effort with Richard Brown for The Private World of Tasha Tudor (1992) and the 1996 Spellbound Productions documentary "Take Joy! The Magical World of Tasha Tudor," her 1830's lifestyle of peace and self-sufficiency become loved by millions of people across the United States and abroad. Many have come to embrace her lifestyle from the repeated showings of this program on PBS.

Tasha Tudor was featured in countless newspaper articles and many magazines including Early American Life; Victoria; Horticulture; Better Homes and Gardens; People Places and Plants and many Japanese titles.

Her last book, Corgiville Christmas (2002), brought the number of books written and/or illustrated by Tasha to nearly 100. Additionally, she produced vast quantities of Christmas cards, Advent calendars, art prints, and other works that continue to enchant fans. Her books have been published in Japan, Korea, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden.

Throughout her career, Tasha Tudor traveled across the country appearing at hundreds of book signings and talks. Her work has been shown in many museums, including Conner Prairie, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg (1996), Pierpont Morgan Library, Norman Rockwell Museum (2005), Henry Ford Museum, and extensively in Japan.

Tasha received many honors, though she never kept track of them and it is only through other sources that we know of them. They included the Catholic Library Association’s Regina Medal; Caldecott honors for 1 is One (1956) and Mother Goose(1944); the Walter Cerf Award for Lifetime Achievements in the Arts from the Vermont Arts Council (June 18, 2004).

Tasha passed away peacefully in her lovely home in Marlboro, Vermont, surrounded by the people and things she held so dear. She is survived by her children and grandchildren, for whom her presence will be missed. They join with the general public in celebrating her life while gently wiping tears.

Mrs. Tudor frequently thanked her family and friends for helping her live as independently as possible in her old age. We were all blessed by her presence, and the things she has taught us about living a meaningful life.

Due to Mrs. Tudor's wishes, there is no public memorial service planned at this time. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to the Tasha Tudor Museum to facilitate sharing and preserving all that Tasha has given the world. Please see the website for more information


Allison Ann Aller said...

Thanks for this, even though it is sad news. Tasha Tudor was a huge inspiration to me.

Cindy Brick said...

You are very welcome. I try to remind myself that Tasha had a long and very full life; she did so many things. She died in her own house, with her family and friends around her.
I hope that when I die, I'll be able to accomplish as much...and end my life surrounded by the people I love. (Or just go really quickly!)
Thanks for writing.

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