HvS' contact with Eleanor Roosevelt happened through a letter that Mrs. Roosevelt wrote in 1958 to Helen Ferris, who was then the Editor-in-Chief of the Literary Guild. In a brief but impactful letter, Mrs. Roosevelt described King Oberon's Forest as "not only charmingly written but beautifully illustrated." King Oberon's Forest was written by HvS and ilustrated by her daughter, Brigid Marlin. The letter was given to HvS by Ms. Ferris and to this day is cherished by the HvS' family.
About Helen Josephine Ferris, 1890-1969
Helen Ferris was born in Hastings, Nebraska, her roots are in
Wisconsin. Her mother, Minnie Lunn Ferris was born in Marshall and grew
up in Waterloo. Her father, Elmer, was a Baptist minister who was born
in Seven Mile Creek and grew up there and in Fond du Lac. Both parents
attended Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam. Between 1901-04, the Ferris
family lived in La Crosse. Helen enjoyed "the mighty Mississippi River"
and later wrote "... it will always be my river." The family lived in
Milwaukee during Helen's high school years, 1905-07. Two Wisconsin
librarians were Helen's mentors: her aunt, Anne Mayers, Assistant to
the State Library Commission; and Mary Emogene Hazeltine, Preceptor of
the Wisconsin Library School. Helen referred to herself as a "Great
Granddaughter of Wisconsin" and maintained family ties to the state
throughout her life.
Helen's first publication appeared in the Wisconsin
Audubon Magazine when she was eleven. During the years 1912-19, she
held several editorial positions including The Guardian, American Girl,
and Youth's Companion and also published her first four books. In 1924
she and Albert B. Tibbets were married.
Helen Ferris was editor-in-chief of the Junior Literary
Guild from 1929 until her retirement in 1959. Her high literary
standards and the desire to share good literature stem from her
parents' extensive reading aloud in their home; standards which are
reflected in the high quality of her Guild selections as well as her
own published works. Throughout her career, she wrote ten books and
edited seventeen others for young readers. The New York Times ran an
article announcing her death on September 28, 1969.
Phi Beta Kappa, Vassar College, 1912 Child Study Association Children's Book Committee Award, 1950, for Partners
Girls Who Did: Stories of Real Girls and Their Careers, 1927 Adventure Waits: A Book of Adventure Stories for Girls, 1928 When I Was A Girl: The Stories of 5 Famous Women as Told by Themselves, collected by Helen Ferris, 1934 My Poetry Book: An Anthology of Modern Verse for Boys and Girls, selected ... in collaboration with Helen Ferris, 1934 Partners: The United Nations and Youth, by Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Ferris, 1950 Writings
for Boys & Girls: A Young Wings Anthology of Essays by 216 Authors
Who Tell How They Came to Write Their Special Kinds of Books for Young
Readers, ed. by Helen Ferris, 1952 Favorite Poems, Old & New, selected for boys and girls by Helen Ferris, 1957