The show features a once-stolen painting of the precocious character, which hasn’t been seen in public for 57 years.
A beloved New York icon is having a moment at the New-York Historical Society: Eloise, the famed children’s book character created by actress Kay Thompson (1909–1988) and illustrated by Hilary Knight (1926–) is the star of a new exhibition there, “Eloise at the Museum.”
The subject of four books, all published between 1955 and 1959—a fifth, unfinished manuscript, Eloise Takes a Bawth, was published by Thompson’s estate posthumously in 2002—the fictional Eloise is a six-year-old girl who lives with her nanny on the “tippy-top floor” of New York’s Plaza Hotel. There she gets up to all kind of mischief, including ordering lots and lots of room service—”charge it please, thank you very much.”
Eloise was an instant sensation upon her first appearance, in LIFE magazine, in 1955, with children clamoring to receive Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown-Ups that Christmas. Essentially, she was the Cabbage Patch Kid or Tickle Me Elmo of her day. read more