On October 14, 1893, Lois Lenski was born in Springfield, Ohio. She grew up and lived primarily in the midwest and northeast but because of poor health, starting in the 1940s, she often traveled to the south on doctor’s orders. In 1951, Lenski and her husband, Arthur Covey, built a house in Florida and spend increasing amounts of time in the South. It was thanks to her travels and eventual move to the American South that Lenski’s greatest works were born.
Strawberry Girl, a story about Florida Crackers in the early 1900s was inspired by Lenski’s time in Florida. An installment in a set of regional novels about children around the United States, it would win her the 1946 Newberry Medal and remains her most famous work.
The Lois Lenski Collection at Florida State University was started in the 1950s when the Libraries contacted Ms. Lenski asking for “even just a page or drawing from Strawberry Girl.” Initially, Lenski sent only two drawings but in 1958, she donated a larger collection of books, original drawings, articles and other items of interest to a Lenski or children’s literature scholar.
In the Spring of 2013, our Lois Lenski Collection was the focus of that semester’s Museum Object class. The course, a requirement of the Museum Studies minor at FSU, gives students a hands-on experience within the museum field. It requires the class to curate and design both a physical and online exhibit on their topic. You can view the online exhibit here.