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|Born||Esther Holden Averill
July 24, 1902
Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA
|Died||May 19, 1992
New York City, New York, USA
|Occupation||Illustrator, publisher, writer|
|Alma mater||Vassar College (1923)|
|Genres||Children's picture books|
|Notable work(s)||The Cat Club series|
|Notable award(s)||New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year, for "Jenny's Birthday Book" (1954)|
Esther Averill (July 24, 1902 – May 19, 1992) was an American writer and illustrator best known for the Cat Club picture books, a collection of 13 stories featuring Jenny Linsky, a small black cat who always wears a red scarf. She was also an editor and publisher.
Averill was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she was a teenage cartoonist for a local newspaper. After graduating from Vassar College in 1923, she joined the editorial staff of Women's Wear Daily. In 1925 she moved to Paris, France to work as a photojournalist's assistant. In 1931, Averill founded the Domino Press, which specialized in "children's picture books illustrated by gifted young artists and reproduced by means of the excellent color processes that were available".[clarification needed] Domino's first publication was Averill's book "Daniel Boone", illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky (who later won a U.S. Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration). Domino published several other children's books before it ceased operations in 1938.
Averill returned to the United States in 1941. In 1944, she wrote and illustrated The Cat Club, the first in a series of stories about a cat, Jenny Linsky, who lived in New York City with her master, the benevolent Captain Tinker. Between 1944 and 1972, Averill wrote and illustrated a dozen more stories about Jenny Linsky and her cat friends, all of whom were based on cats Averill owned or knew.
Averill died in New York City on May 19, 1992.
Cat Club series
- The Cat Club, 1944
- The School For Cats, 1947
- Jenny's First Party, 1948
- Jenny's Moonlight Adventure, 1949
- When Jenny Lost Her Scarf, 1951
- Jenny's Adopted Brothers, 1952
- How the Brothers Joined the Cat Club, 1953
- Jenny's Birthday Book, 1954
- Jenny Goes to Sea, 1957
- Jenny's Bedside Book, 1959
- The Fire Cat, 1960
- The Hotel Cat, 1969
- Captains of the City Streets, 1972
- Other sources
- Something About the Author, Volume 28 (1982), pp. 39–43
- (Esther Averill), The New York Review of Books Authors[dead link]
- Esther Averill Collection, Children's Literature Research Collections, University of Minnesota