Feodor Stepanovich Rojankovsky

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Feodor Stepanovich "Rojan" Rojankovsky (Russian : Фёдор Степанович Рожанковский) (December 24, 1891 – October 12, 1970), also known as Rojan, was a Russian émigré illustrator. [1] He is well known both for children's book illustration and for erotic art. He won the 1956 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration from the American Library Association, recognizing Frog Went A-Courtin' by John Langstaff. [2]



Rojankovsky was born in Mitava, Courland Governorate of the Russian Empire (now in Latvia) on December 24, 1891 to Lydia Kiprianova and Stepan Fedorovich Rojankovsky. After Stephan's death in 1897, the family moved to St. Petersburg to be closer to his older married sister. There, Rojan's interest in books grew, particularly natural history picture books and illustrated classics. He studied two years at the private Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture but left in 1914 to serve in the Imperial Russian Army during World War I where he served as Staff Captain of one of the first motorized units until 1917. His first work appeared in the May 1915 issue of the magazine Lukomor’e where he depicted war scenes during his bed rest after being wounded in battle. [3]

After the war, Rojankovsky joined his siblings in Ukraine and worked as an artist for the local district council where some of his projects were illustrating books for local schools. He was conscripted by the White Army in 1919, soon to be a prisoner of war in Poland. After the war, he stayed in Poland working with Polish bookseller and publisher Rudolf Wegner designing book covers and illustrating whole books. After the Rapallo Treaty of 1922 recognized the new Soviet Union, he was unable to return to Russia with his Tsarist papers and became a stateless person and moved to France in 1925 where he worked as an art director for Lecram Press. His work for Lecram caught Esther Averill's attention and he began collaborating with Averill and her business partner, Lila Stanley. With their insight, Rojankovsky created Daniel Boone in 1931 featuring fauvist-inspired lithographs celebrating Boone and the American West. The plates were prohibitive to print, so Averill and Stanley started their own Domino Press to print the book. Daniel Boone set a new direction in children's books, but was not a commercial success. In 1933, he began working with Paul Faucher on the Père Castor series. The series integrated bold coloring with games, stories or projects designed to stimulate a child's curiosity and imagination. [4] [3]

In 1941, he moved to the US and began a career of illustrating more than a hundred books, most featuring animals or nature with Little Golden Books. From 1943 to 1970, Rojan illustrated 35 children's books under the imprint. [4] Rojankovsky also wrote books, such as The Great Big Animal Book, published in 1952. [5] In 1956, Frog Went A-Courtin' by John Langstaff won the Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration from the American Library Association. [2] In the 1950s and 60s, he began working with a new female editor, Margaret McElderry of Simon & Schuster, and produced Over in the Meadow, The Little River, So Small, and A Crowd of Cows. [3]

Rojan died on October 12, 1970 in Bronxville, New York. [6]


"Two great events determined the course of my childhood. I was taken to the zoo and saw the most marvelous creatures on earth: bears, tigers, monkeys and reindeer, and, while my admiration was running high, I was given a set of color crayons. Naturally, I began immediately to depict the animals which captured my imagination. Also when my elder brothers, who were in schools in the capital, came home for vacation, I tried to copy their drawings and to imitate their paintings." [6]


As writer and illustrator

With other writers

See also

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  6. 1 2 "Feodor Rojankovsky, 78, Dies; Illustrator of Children's Books". timesmachine.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-12-06.