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NMSU library showcases children's collection

The New Mexico State University Library features among its special collections a group of 275 children's books in which almost every major illustrator of the first half of the 20th century is represented.

ustrated children's books were collected by Herman Ilfeld Bacharach, a descendent of the 19th-century New Mexico Ilfeld and Spiegelberg mercantile families.

Bacharach was born in Las Vegas in the Territory of New Mexico Aug. 5, 1899. He graduated from New Mexico Normal University where he participated in many literary and artistic activities. Following graduation from the Normal University, Bacharach went on to the University of Pennsylvania where he apparently left after about a year. His parents believed he was in dental school, while Bacharach was pursuing a career in art.

As an artist he achieved no fame, although he illustrated several books for Grossett and Dunlap and Houghton Mifflin including "The Adventures of Pinocchio," published in 1927, which is in the library collection.

However, Herman Bacharach was a collector of illustrated books. He acquired decorative bound and skillfully illustrated children's books, collecting 275 volumes with work by the most notable illustrators of the time.

In addition to the many American and British printings, there are a number of French, German, Swiss and Italian children's books. Several very lovely editions of Anderson's and Grimms' fairy tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Gustaf Tenggren, Kay Nielsen, Harry Clarke and W. Heath Robinson are included in the collection. There are four of L. Frank Baum's Oz books with illustrations by John R. Neill, some early editions of A.A. Milne, and various illustrated editions of the Arabian Nights, Aesop's fables and Mother Goose.

Upon the death of his father, Herman returned to Las Vegas to help with the family business, Bacharach Bros., and never returned to the East and his artistic career again. His large collection of illustrated books, now housed in the NMSU Library Special Collections, was acquired during his Philadelphia years, and was shipped to Las Vegas when it was clear he would remain in New Mexico. He died in Las Vegas in August 1976. His collection of illustrated books was purchased from Las Galleria de los Artesanos, a Las Vegas bookstore, in 1983. For more information about the Herman Ilfeld Bacharach Collection, please call 646-6122.

May 24, 2002