Identified individuals are represented by a biographical sketch, a list of connections to other signatures, and, in most cases, an artifact from the Ransom Centers collections. Help us identify more signatures by submitting your suggested identification.
HENDRICK WILLEM VAN LOON
Born in Rotterdam, Holland, the historian and artist Hendrik Willem Van Loon (1882-1944) moved to the United States in 1902. A close friend of Frank Shay, he designed the bookshop’s stationery and penned a cartoon of Sinclair Lewis browsing at the bookshop, which was featured in a 1921 article about the shop in Publishers’ Weekly. Both of these items may be viewed at “The Shop.” According to Christopher Morley, he was also the first person to sign the bookshop door. Van Loon first came to the United States to study at Cornell. He then worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent for the Associated Press before returning to Europe to receive a PhD. After a brief career as an academic historian, he became a full-time writer. During the years of the bookhsop, he was married to his second of three wives, Jimmie, who owned the popular and quirky Mad Hatter café in Greenwich Village, a very Bohemian business that had quotes about madness written on the walls. Van Loon was was the first person to be awarded the John Newbery Medal for children’s literature for his illustrated history, The Story of Mankind (1921).
An untitled drawing by Hendrik Willem Van Loon, undated