Oct. 4: Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies: Steven Herb, "Storyteller without Words: The Graphic World of Lynd Ward"

September 26, 2013

3:30 to 5:00 PM in the Woodrow Wilson Room (LJ-113), in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.


During the very same week that the stock market crashed in 1929, a book appeared on the literary scene unlike any other. Thumbing through Gods' Man, browsers would have seen page after page of stunning woodblock illustrations that told a story—without the use of any words. And remarkably, 20,000 copies were sold in six printings over the next four years.

Lynd Ward, son of ACLU co-founder and social activist, Harry Ward lived several literary lives. He is credited by many as America’s first true graphic novelist for his six wordless novels of the 1930s.  He also founded the short-lived but highly respected Equinox Press, a cooperative for established figures in the New York book publishing world in the 30s. His illustrations are associated with 9 Newbery and Caldecott award and honor books—tied for the most such recognitions in the history of American children’s book publishing. One of his earliest works was a reissue of the Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde and 50 years later one of his last was a special edition poster of “Moloch” from Howl by Allen Ginsberg. In between Ward made his living as an independent illustrator—a rare feat for anyone during the Great Depression and World War II, especially for someone from a family whose world views often ran counter to an increasing American conservatism.

Steven Herb is head of the education and behavioral sciences library and affiliate professor of language & literacy education at Penn State. He is also director of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Dr. Herb is past president of the Association for Library Service to Children and a three-term chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. He has served on many national children’s book award committees including the Newbery, Caldecott, Boston Globe/Horn Book Magazine, and the Theodore Seuss Geisel award.  He is also the founder and administrator of Penn State’s Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year which this November will be presented to Chris Ware for Building Stories.

Please join us for Dr. Herb’s  talk and for dinner afterwards.

The Jefferson Building is located between First and Second Streets, SE in the District of Columbia. Nearest metro stops are Capitol South (blue and orange lines) and Union Station (red line).

For further information, consult the Washington Area Group for Print Culture Studies website at http://wagpcs.wordpress.com/, or contact Sabrina Baron and Eleanor Shevlin at washagpcs "AT" umd.edu.