"Skippack School" by MARGUERITE de ANGELI

Years ago my mother purchased this book at the Green Dragon Market in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Our family history goes back several hundred years in Pennsylvania so she thought this would be a book I’d enjoy. She paid 50 cents for it.

Skippack School was published in 1939 by Random House. Written and illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli, she’s all but forgotten now. Hopefully this post will introduce her to those not familiar with her work. The book has many more illustrations than the few shown here.

The following is from Wikipedia, where you can find a list of her other work.
Marguerite de Angeli (March 14, 1889 – June 16, 1987) was a bestselling author and illustrator of children's books including the 1950 Newbery Award winning book The Door in the Wall. She wrote and illustrated twenty-eight of her own books, and illustrated more than three dozen books and numerous magazine stories and articles for other authors.
Themes   Her work explored and depicted the traditions and rich cultural diversity of common people more frequently overlooked – a semi-autobiographical Great Depression family, African American children experiencing the sting of racial prejudice, Polish mine workers aspiring to life beyond the Pennsylvania coal mines, the physically handicapped, colonial Mennonites, the Amish, nineteenth-century Quakers supporting the underground railroad, immigrants, and other traditional or ethnic peoples. De Angeli's books carry an underlying message that we are really all the same, and that all of us deserve tolerance, care, consideration, and respect.
Awards   Her 1946 story Bright April was the first children’s book to address the divisive issue of racial prejudice. She was twice named a Caldecott Honor Book illustrator, first in 1945 for Yonie Wondernose and again in 1955 for Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes. She received a 1950 Newbery Medal, for The Door in the Wall, which also won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1961, a 1957 Newbery Honor mention for Black Fox of Lorne, a 1961 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and the 1968 Regina Medal.
Life   She was born Marguerite Lofft in Lapeer, Michigan, one of six children. Her father, George Shadrach Lofft, was a photographer and illustrator; her mother was Ruby Adele Tuttle Lofft. In 1902 her family moved to West Philadelphia, where she spent her most formative years. Marguerite entered high school in 1904, but a year later at age fifteen began to sing professionally as contralto in a Presbyterian choir for $1 a week. She soon withdrew from high school for more musical training.
In 1908 she met John Dailey de Angeli, a violinist, known as Dai. They were married in Toronto on 1910 April 12. The first of their six children, John Shadrach de Angeli, was born one year later. After living in many locations in the American and Canadian West, they settled in the Philadelphia suburb of Collingswood, New Jersey.
There in 1921 Marguerite started to study drawing under her mentor Maurice Bower. In 1922 Marguerite began illustrating a Sunday School paper and was soon doing illustrations for magazines such as The Country Gentleman, Ladies' Home Journal, and The American Girl, besides illustrating books for authors including Helen Ferris, Elsie Singmaster, Cornelia Meigs, and Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
Her last child, Maurice Bower de Angeli, was born in 1928, seven years before the 1935 publication of her first book, Ted and Nina Go to the Grocery Store. The de Angeli family moved frequently, returning to Pennsylvania and living north of Philadelphia in Jenkintown, west of Philadelphia in the Manoa neighborhood of Havertown, on Carpenter Lane in Germantown, Philadelphia, on Panama Street in Center City, Philadelphia, in an apartment near the Philadelphia Art Museum, and in a cottage in Red Hill, Pennsylvania. They also maintained a summer cabin in Tom's River, New Jersey. Marguerite's husband died in 1969 only eight months before their 60th wedding anniversary. In 1971, two years after her husband died, she published her autobiography, Butter at the Old Price. Her last work, Friendship and Other Poems, was published in 1981 when she was 92 years old. She died at the age of 98 on June 16, 1987 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Works   In her illustrations Marguerite de Angeli employed a number of different media, including charcoal, pen and ink, lithograph (only in earliest work), oils, and watercolors. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the regional setting of many, but not all, of her books. (SOURCE: Wikipedia; Photo from Ann Arbor District Library)
Click on any image to see it larger.


  1. I just purchased Bright April from a vintage book and ephemera dealer, so I'm really happy to see this. I'm familiar with some but not all of De Angeli's work. Will post some pages soon.