Jeanne Bendick papers , 1951-1977

Overview of the Collection

Bendick, Jeanne
Jeanne Bendick papers
1951-1977 (inclusive)
14 linear feet, (13 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 550
Jeanne Bendick (b. 1919) was an author and illustrator of children's books, mostly nonfiction. The collection includes manuscripts, illustrations, and correspondence relating to Bendick's interest in the sciences, the history of science, and the environment.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Jeanne Bendick was born on February 25, 1919, in New York, New York. Her father was Louis Xerxes Garfunkel, an inventor and restaurant businessman, and her mother was Amelia Maurice Hess Garfunkel, the daughter of French immigrants. Bendick attended the New York High School of Arts and Music, and graduated from Parsons School of Design with a B.A. degree in 1939. Because she was attending school during the Depression, she illustrated a children's magazine called Jack and Jill and taught a children's art class on the weekends, in order to help pay for her tuition. After her graduation, she was awarded a scholarship to study in Paris for a year. But with World War II raging in Europe, she decided against leaving home.

Bendick was most inspired by her maternal grandfather, an artist who spent many hours teaching her to draw. On many Sundays he also took her to the American Museum of Natural History. "Grandpa Charley was my hero," she once said, "a scholar and an artist, gentle, patient, full of humor, and endlessly generous with his time." Through these early experiences, Bendick conceived a lifelong interest in science and the desire to illuminate it for young readers.

An author and/or illustrator of over one hundred books, Bendick is particularly noted for her comprehensive research, clear text, and simple illustrations; her work reflects her ability to hold a reader's interest even when elucidating a complex principle or invention. Much of what she has written clarifies the areas of television, movies, time, shapes, numbers, ecology, astronomy, heredity, and science history, urging in her readers a basic understanding followed by the curiosity to learn more.

On November 24, 1940, she married Robert Bendick, a photographer who became one of the first three cameramen at the emerging CBS-TV network. This connection enabled her to work in the television field as a story editor and scriptwriter for series such as NBC-TV's The First Look from 1965-1966, and Giant Step, 1968, as well as a segment for ABC-TV's 20/20 titled "Evolution/Creation." During World War II, both Bendick and her husband offered their services full-time; he enlisted in the Army Air Forces, she joined the American Women's Voluntary Services. They continued to work jointly on projects even when he was away.

Bendick has commented, "One part of the job I set for myself is to make those young readers see that everything is connected to everything-that science isn't something apart. It's a part of everyday life. It has been that way since the beginning. The things the earliest scientists learned were the building blocks for those who came after. Sometimes they accepted earlier ideas. Sometimes they questioned them and challenged them. I want to involve readers directly in the text so they will ask themselves questions and try to answer them. If they can't answer, that's not really important... Questions are more important than answers... If I were a fairy godmother, my gift to every child would be curiosity."

(Source: Gale Literary Databases. "Jeanne Bendick." Contemporary Authors. 13 Nov. 2002. 12 July 2005.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Jeanne Bendick papers consist of original illustrations for twenty-six books; manuscripts for eleven books; correspondence from 1966 -1977; and numerous drafts, page proofs, galleys, dummies, etc. The collection also includes drafts of the Ginn Science Program's 1968 filmstrip series, and the Learning Experiences Series.

Manuscripts include The Consumer's Catalog of Economy and Ecology; D iscovering Cycles, by Glen Blough; The Human Senses, Measuring,Motion and Gravity, and Adaptation from the series Science Experiences; The Mystery of the Loch Ness Monster; Names, Sets, and Numbers; A Place to Live; Starting Points; What Things Are; Electronics for Young People; Filming Works Like This; Finding out About Jobs: TV Reporting; Heat and Temperature; How Much Space do Some Things Take Up?; How to Make a Cloud; Mathematics Illustrated Dictionary; Mrs. Magellan's Yard; and What to Do.

Illustrations are for the Science Experiences' Adaptation; The Human Senses; Living Things; Measuring; Motion and Gravity; Shapes; and Space and Time. Also included are illustrations for After the Sun Goes Down; Discovering Cycles; The Emergency Book; Look-out for the Forest; Mathematics Without Numbers (formerly titled Take Shapes, Lines, and Letters); The Mystery of the Loch Ness Monster; Names, Sets, and Numbers; A Place to Live; Push-ups and Pinups; Solids, Liquids, Gases; Soon After September; Starting Points in Science; Take a Number; Tree on the Road; The Tree on the Road to Turntown; What Could You See?; The Wind; Why Can't I?; Young Scientist Takes a Walk; and a few miscellaneous illustrations.

Published works in the collection include the Ginn Science Education Program's field test editions of Animal Behavior; Astronomy; Atomic Model; Biological Change; Geology; Higher Animal; Higher Plant; Meteorology; Motion; and Oceanography.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Children's literature, American--Authorship
  • Children's literature, American--Illustrations
  • Women authors, American--20th century
  • Women illustrators--United States

Personal Names

  • Bendick, Jeanne
  • Bendick, Jeanne

Form or Genre Terms

  • Book illustrations
  • Correspondence
  • Dummies (printed matter)