Mar 032007
 March 3, 2007  Posted by at 2:40 pm  Add comments

The illustrated book Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans, first appeared in its entirely in the Sept. 4, 1939 issue of Life Magazine.  From the article:

Madeline is the story of an adorable pipsqeak.  It was written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans and will be published on Sept. 5 by Simon & Schuster ($2). Its author came to the U.S. in 1914 from the Austrian Tyrol. He became a citizen and enlisted in the War.  Later he related his experiences as a German-speaking U.S. soldier in a 1937 best-seller, My War with the United States.

In its origins, Madeline goes back to a summer’s day in 1938 when Bemelmans was run down by the only automobile on the Ile  D’yeu off France.  In the hospital, he found himself neighbor to a young girl recuperating from an appendectomy. He was so impressed by the enjoyment the child derived from her operation that he decided to write a children’s book in which the heroine should experience a similar adventure. In a fatherly way he wrote the book for his daughter, Barbara, age 3, who is as precocious and enchanting a youngster as Madeline.

This story of how Madeline became the envy of her eleven little Paris Playmates is told in part by Ludwig Bemelmans’ drawings and rhymes on this page.  For the surprising reaction Madeline’s friends had when they saw her appendicitis scar, see p. 9.

The Childrens Picturebook Price Guide estimates that a first edition Madeline has an estimated market value of $4,000 in VG+ condition (with dust jacket).  Obviously, the magazine’s value would be far less, however does have collector appeal, especially since the appearance clearly pre-dated the publication of the book.

Madeline First Edition 

Madeline First Edition Bemelmans 

Madeline First Edition Identification

Madeline First Edition Identification