Sendak Foundation Withholds Collection Bequeathed to Rosenbach Museum

The executors of Maurice Sendak’s will are at odds with the Rosenbach Museum and Library; the Sendak foundation has failed to hand over a multi-million dollar rare book collection the famous author reportedly gave to the Rosenbach. The museum has filed a lawsuit against the foundation.

Two and a half years after Sendak’s death, the Sendak Foundation is planning an auction—scheduled for January—that the Rosenbach fears could feature items included in the collection bequeathed to it. The Foundation has argued that it will not hand over several particular items, including valuable editions of Peter the Rabbit, because they are not technically rare books but are rather children’s books. An ironic argument, considering that Sendak viewed the distinctions between children and adult literature to be largely constructed and invalid.

There’s more at stake then the Rosenbach not receiving the items currently withheld. The Sendak Foundation is also looking to reclaim 10,000 works shared by Sendak with the Rosenbach since the 1960s. Citing similar research and collecting interests, Sendak contributed thousands of art pieces, manuscripts, and books over the years to the museum.

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