I've found so many remarkable details about the life of Marguerite Henry while researching for my memoir Marguerite, Misty and Me. If you're a fan of horse books, I hope you'll read it. <wink, wink> The problem is, some of the details are way too tangential to include in the book.
Newbery Horse image courtesy of Cooperative Children’s Book Center, UW-Madison
A few of those examples pertain to her winning the Newbery Medal, the highest honor for children's literature, for King of the Wind. First off, one of the men involved in the reward publicly remarked that Marguerite was the best looking person to have won the award. lol! (Definitely a different era.) My editor said, "You're not putting it in there." I didn't include it in the manuscript, but here it is.
Also, at the banquet held to honor Marguerite, a small golden horse (not a Breyer horse—those weren't around back in the late 1940s) was at each place setting. It was a nod to the title character Sham, the Godolphin Arabian. That horse is the main photo for this blog post. Now you might be thinking, "That horse looks silver." I know. I thought that too. But in the archival documents I read, it said each place setting had a small golden horse. So perhaps it was gold at one point?
Grab your copy of Marguerite, Misty and Me!
One of my favorite stories which also did not make the cut for Marguerite, Misty and Me is while in New York for the Newbery celebration, Marguerite and Margaret Clark, a librarian from Cleveland who served as vice-chairman of the Children's Library Association of the American Library Association sat with Frederic Melcher, the founder of the Newbery Award during a fancy lunch at the Algonquin Hotel.
Later Margaret wrote a letter to Helen Kinsey of the ALA recounting what she considered a funny experience with Marguerite.
"M. Henry scanned the desserts and ordered a creme de menthe parfait. Being another unsophisticate I thought that would be a nice ice cream treat myself. When it came, it was two elegant liqueurs, with scads of chopped ice, etc. and we both looked so dumfounded that everyone laughed and called us two little 'girls' from the Midwest."
Marguerite and Margaret bonded over their inexperience with creme de menthe, and being teased about being little girls from the Midwest. Prior to checking out of the hotel to head back to Cleveland, Margaret received a gift of flowers. They were a show of appreciation from Marguerite. Margaret wore them on the train stating they were from her "parfait friend."
I have to admit, I've never had a creme de menthe dessert. It doesn't sound very good to me. But alas, I'm also a "little girl from the Midwest." I wonder if the women enjoyed the surprising treats or wished they had selected good ol' predictable chocolate cake.
If you love Marguerite Henry and Misty of Chincoteague, I hope you will grab a copy of Marguerite, Misty and Me: a Horse Girl's Hunt for the Hidden History of Marguerite Henry and her Chincoteague Pony.