Bemelmans, Ludwig

Bemelmans, Ludwig,

1898–1962 American author and illustrator of children's books, b. Meran, Austria-Hungary (now in Italy), to Belgian and German parents. Trained in the hotel and restaurant business, he immigrated to New York City (1914), served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and became an American citizen (1918). After the war he began drawing hotel employees and patrons, then created cartoons and later children's books. His most famous series details the adventures of Madeline and her fellow Parisian boarding-school girls, including Madeline (1939; animated short film, 1952), Madeline's Rescue (1953; Caldecott Medal), Madeline and the Bad Hat (1956), and Madeline in London (1961). In Sunshine (1950), set in New York City, a music teacher avoids eviction with her students help. Madeline at the White House (2011), first suggested Jacqueline Kennedy, was written by Bemelmans' grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, 1970–, who has added other books to the series. Ludwig Bemelmans also created covers for The New Yorker and a mural of Central Park in the Bemelmans Bar of New York City's Carlyle Hotel.


See biography by Q. Blake and L. B. Newell (2019).

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Bemelmans, Ludwig

(1898–1962) writer, illustrator; born in Meran, Austria (now Merano, Italy). Educated in Bavaria, he emigrated to New York City (1914), worked at various occupations, wrote for periodicals, and became famous for children's books, such as Madeline (1939), which he illustrated as well as wrote.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.