Hans Augusto Rey

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Hans Augusto Rey (Reyersbach)

Also Known As: "H. A. Rey"
Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Death: August 26, 1977 (78)
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexander Reyersbach; Alexander Reyersbach; Martha Rosalie Reyersbach and Martha Reyersbach
Husband of Margret Rey
Brother of Max Henry Reyersbach; Margarethe Reyersbach, Cohn; Luise Reyersbach; Margarete Reyersbach and Max-Henry Reyersbach

Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:

About Hans Augusto Rey


Hans Augusto Rey (September 16, 1898 – August 26, 1977) was an illustrator and a writer, known best for the Curious George series of children's picture books that he and his wife Margret Rey created from 1939 to 1966.[1][2]

Hans Augusto Reyersbach was born in Hamburg, Germany, as was Margret. Hans and Margret's father were German Jews; her mother was not. The couple met in Hamburg at Margret's sister's 16th birthday party. Margret was taken with Hans to Brazil and Hans was said to be selling "bathtubs" on the Amazon. They met in Brazil, where Hans was working as a salesman and Margret had gone to escape the rise of Nazism. They married in 1935 and moved to Paris that year.[3] Margret, headstrong, left to find him. They married and lived in Montmartre and fled Paris in June 1940 on self-made bicycles, carrying the Curious George manuscript with them.[4]

Curious George[edit] While in Paris, Hans's animal drawings came to the attention of a French publisher, who commissioned him to write a children's book. The result, Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, is little remembered, but one of its characters, an adorably impish monkey named Curious George, was such a success that the couple considered writing a book just about him. The outbreak of World War II interrupted their work. As Jews, the Reys decided to flee Paris before the Nazis seized the city. Hans assembled two bicycles, and they fled Paris just a few hours before it fell. Among the meager possessions they brought with them was the illustrated manuscript of Curious George.[4][5]

The Reys' odyssey brought them to Bayonne, France where they were issued life-saving visas signed by Vice-Consul Manuel Vieira Braga (following instructions from Aristides de Sousa Mendes) on June 20, 1940.[6] They crossed the Spanish border, where they bought train tickets to Lisbon. From there they returned to Brazil, where they had met five years earlier, but this time they continued to New York. The Reys escaped Europe carrying the manuscript to the first Curious George book, which they then published in New York by Houghton Mifflin in 1941. Hans and Margret originally planned to use watercolor illustrations, but since they were responsible for the color separation, he changed these to the cartoon-like images that continue to be featured in each of the books. (A collector's edition with the original watercolors has since been released.)[7]

Curious George was an instant success, and the Reys were commissioned to write more adventures of the mischievous monkey and his friend, the Man in the Yellow Hat. They wrote seven stories in all, with Hans mainly doing the illustrations and Margret working mostly on the stories, though they both admitted to sharing the work and cooperating fully in every stage of development. At first, however, covers omitted Margret's name. In later editions this was changed, and Margret now receives full credit for her role in developing the stories.[3]

Curious George Takes a Job was named to the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award list in 1960.

The Reys relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts during 1963,[3] in a house near Harvard Square, and lived there until Hans's death in 1977. In the 1990s, the Reys's friends founded a children's bookstore named Curious George & Friends (formerly Curious George Goes to Wordsworth), which operated in the Square until 2011.[8] A new Curious George themed store opened in April 2012, The World's Only Curious George Store, now stands in the same location as the original.

Rey's interest in astronomy began during World War I and led to his desire to redraw constellation diagrams, which he found difficult to remember, so that they were more intuitive. This led to the 1952 publication of The Stars: A New Way to See Them, (ISBN 0-395-24830-2). His constellation diagrams were adopted widely and now appear in many astronomy guides, such as Donald H. Menzel's A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets. As of 2003 The Stars: A New Way to See Them, and a simplified presentation for children called Find the Constellations, are still in print. A new edition of Find the Constellations was released in 2008, updated with modern fonts, the new status of Pluto, and some more current measurements of planetary sizes and orbital radii.[10]

Collected papers[edit] The University of Oregon holds H. A. Rey papers dated 1940 to 1961, dominated by correspondence, primarily between Rey and his American and British publishers.[3]

The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, holds more than 300 boxes of Rey papers dated 1973 to 2002.[11]

Dr. Lena Y. de Grummond, a professor in the field of library science at The University of Southern Mississippi, contacted the Reys in 1966 about USM's new children's literature collection. H. A. and Margret donated a pair of sketches at the time. When Margret Rey died in 1996, her will designated that the entire literary estate of the Reys would be donated to the de Grummond Collection.

Books written by H.A. Rey[edit] Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys Curious George Curious George Takes a Job Curious George Rides a Bike Curious George Gets a Medal Curious George Flies a Kite Curious George Learns the Alphabet Curious George Goes to the Hospital Feed the Animals Find the Constellations Elizabite - Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant How Do You Get There? Pretzel The Stars: A New Way to See Them Where's My Baby? See the Circus Whiteblack the Penguin Sees the World Au Clair de la Lune and other French Nursery Songs (1941) Spotty (1945) Humpty Dumpty and other Mother Goose Songs (©1943 Harper & Brothers)

Books illustrated by H.A. Rey[edit] Dem Andenken Christian Morgensterns 12 Lithographien zu seinem Werk , von Hans Reyersbach (= H.A. Rey), signiert und mit Text in Bleistift HR 22 ( 1922 ) Die Sommerfrische: 10 Idyllen in Linol-Schnitt, von Hans Reyersbach (= H.A. Rey) , Berlin (1923) Grotesken - 12 Lithographien zu Christian Morgensterns Grotesken von Hans Reyersbach (= H. A. Rey). Neue Folge. 400 Exemplare, Hamburg Kurt Enoch Verlag (1923) Zebrology (1937) Elizabite - The Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant ( 1942 ) Don't Frighten the Lion (1942) Katy No-Pocket (1944) We Three Kings and other Christmas Carols (1944)

See upcoming documentary: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1344946756/curious-george-documentary

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Hans Augusto Rey's Timeline

September 16, 1898
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
August 26, 1977
Age 78
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States