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Richard Erdoes
Author, illustrator and journalist

Richard Erdoes

Richard Erdoes
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Author, illustrator and journalist
Was Historian Author Illustrator Writer
From Austria United States of America
Field Arts Creativity Literature Social science
Gender male
Birth 7 July 1912, Vienna
Death 17 July 2008, Santa Fe (aged 96 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Richard Erdoes (Hungarian Erdős, German Erdös was born in Frankfurt or Vienna, 7 July 1912–Santa Fe, 16 July 2008) was a journalist, editor, illustrator and author. He described himself as "equal parts Austrian, Hungarian and German, as well as equal parts Catholic, Protestant and Jew..."

Early life

Erdoes was born in Vienna, Austria, or Frankfurt) to Maria Josefa Schrom on July 7, 1912. His father, Richárd Erdős Sr., was a Jewish Hungarian opera singer who had died a few weeks earlier in Frankfurt on 9 June 1912. After his birth, his mother lived with her sister, the Viennese actress Leopoldine (“Poldi”) Sangora, and Erdoes grew up traveling with them from one engagement to another in Germany and Austria.


He was a student at the Berlin Academy of Art in 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to power. He was involved in a small underground paper where he published anti-Hitler political cartoons which attracted the attention of the Nazi regime. He fled Germany with a price on his head. Back in Vienna, he continued his training at the Kunstgewerbeschule, the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. He also wrote and illustrated children's books and worked as a caricaturist for Tag and Stunde, anti-Nazi newspapers. After the Anschluss of Austria in 1938 he fled again, first to Paris, where he studied at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, and then London, England before journeying to the United States. He married his first wife, fellow artist Elsie Schulhof (d. xxxx) in London, shortly before their arrival in New York City.

In New York City, Erdoes continued writing and illustrating children's books and created illustrations for National Geographic and Life Magazine, where he met his wife, Jean Sternbergh (d. 1995) who was art director there. The couple married in 1951 and had three children.

An assignment for Life in 1967 took Erdoes to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the first time, and marked the beginning of the work for which he would be best known. Erdoes was fascinated by Native American culture, outraged at the conditions on the reservation and deeply moved by the Civil Rights Movement that was raging at the time. He wrote histories, collections of Native American stories and myths, and wrote about such voices of the Native American Renaissance as Leonard and Mary Crow Dog and John Fire Lame Deer. The Erdoes' New York City apartment was a well known hub of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early 1970s and he became involved in the legal defense of several AIM members. In 1975 the family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where Erdoes continued to write and remained active in the movement for Native American civil rights.

His papers are preserved at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.

Published works

As author:

  • Musicians Around the World (xxxx)
  • Peddlers and Vendors Around the World (1967)
  • Policeman Around the World (xxxx)
  • Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (1972), together with John Fire Lame Deer
  • The Sun Dance People: The Plains Indians Their Past and Present (1972), by Richard Erdoes
  • The Rain Dance People: The Pueblo Indians, Their Past and Present (1976)
  • Sound of Flutes (1976)
  • Woman Who Dared (1978)
  • The Spotted Stones (1978)
  • Native Americans: The Navajos (1979)
  • Native Americans (1982)
  • Native Americans: The Pueblos (1983)
  • The Richard Erdoes Illustrated Treasury of Classic Unlaundered Limericks (1984)
  • Crying for a Dream: The World through Native American Eyes (1990)
  • Tales from the American Frontier (1992)
  • A.D. 1000: Living on the Brink of Apocalypse (1994)
  • Saloons of the Old West (1997)
  • Legends and Tales of the American West (1998)

As illustrator:

  • The Cat and The Devil (1964) by James Joyce
  • Come over to My House (1966) by Theo. LeSieg (pen name of Theo Geisel aka Dr. Seuss)

As editor, collector or collaborator:

  • American Indian Myths and Legends (1984), with Alfonso Ortiz (9780394507965) Book (9781564310293) Audiocassette
  • Lakota Woman (1991) by Mary Crow Dog
  • Crow Dog: Four Generations of Sioux Medicine Men (1996), with Leonard Crow Dog
  • American Indian Trickster Tales (1999), with Alfonso Ortiz
  • Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement (2005), with Dennis Banks
  • Ohitika Woman (2009), with Mary Brave Bird

Honors and Awards

  • American Institute of Graphic Arts
  • Viennese Museum of Applied Arts
  • Art Directors Club of New York
  • Society of Illustrators
  • American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation (1991) - for Lakota Woman
  • Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art (1999)

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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