Jamestown, Va., marked the 400th anniversary this month of the marriage of Pocahontas to English settler John Rolfe. At Princeton, Cotsen Children’s Library holds a spectacular collection related to this classic story: a stash of original notes and drawings for Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire’s 1946 best-seller, Pocahontas.
At their stone studio on a farm in Connecticut, the D’Aulaires wrote and drew the pictures for scores of popular books — most famously D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, on which they were assisted by their son, Per Ola d’Aulaire ’61.
Pocahontas involved months of research, the meticulous design in pencil of every page, and finally the creation of four-color lithographs drawn on Bavarian limestone. Artists in Paris before immigrating to America, the D’Aulaires took no shortcuts.
And they stressed truthfulness, once telling an interviewer that Pocahontas came under fire for showing Jamestown colonists ogling the Indian maidens while they danced: “Facts are facts, and you can’t suppress them.”