Histoire de Babar le petit éléphant


This is a rare copy of the first edition of the very first Babar book to be published. Jean de Brunhoff introduced the character in 1931, and Babar enjoyed immediate success. Two years later, the author A.A. Milne produced an English-language version, The Story of Babar, in Britain and the United States. The Babar stories became enormously popular across the world and have been translated into numerous languages.

Babar, who likes to wear a fashionable bright green suit, introduces a very French form of Western civilization to the elephants back home in Africa, and they soon all begin to dress in Western attire. The attention to stylish clothing perhaps reflects the fact that the original publisher of the books was Editions du Jardin des Modes, owned by Condé-Nast. The Babar books were the first Condé-Nast publications not specifically about fashion.

The children’s author, Maurice Sendak, wrote about de Jean de Brunhoff’s innovative work:

Like an extravagant piece of poetry, the interplay between few words and many pictures, commonly called the picture book, is a difficult, exquisite, and most easily collapsible form that few have mastered...Jean de Brunhoff was a master of this form. Between 1931 and 1937 he completed a body of work that forever changed the face of the illustrated book.
Author/Photographer Brunhoff, Jean de, 1899-1937
Illustrator Brunhoff, Jean de, 1899-1937
Publisher Editions du Jardin des Modes, Groupe des Publications Condé Nast
Date 1931
Extent 47 pages
Institution Kent State University
Repository Special Collections and Archives
Provenance/Collection Babar Collection of John L. Boonshaft
Finding aid Finding aid for the Babar Collection of John L. Boonshaft
Portion Digitized Image of collector's box and book on display and open to pages 14-15
Access Rights This digital object is owned by Kent State University and may be protected by U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, USC). Please include proper citation and credit for use of this item. Use in publications or productions is prohibited without written permission from Kent State University. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and Archives for more information.
Duplication Policy http://www.library.kent.edu/special-collections-and-archives/duplication-policy
Date Copyrighted 1931
DPLA Rights Statement http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Format of Original book


Curated by Kathleen Siebert Medicus with guest contributors