Edgar Parin was born in Switzerland on September 30, 1898. He took his mother’s name, d’Aulaire, when he became an artist. Edgar was a pupil of Henry Matisse, and illustrated books in Germany and frescoes in Norway before immigrating to America in 1929. Edgar and his wife, Ingri, collaborated on a children’s book, The Magic Rug, at a librarian’s suggestion in 1931. The husband and wife team went on to produce over 20 picture books for children, the early works depicting the scenery and folktales of Norway. Later books featured American heroes Pocohantas, Benjamin Franklin and Buffalo Bill. The husband and wife team established the picture book biography as a valued staple of library collections. Each illustration included a wealth of authentic detail and was hand drawn on a large lithographic stone with separate drawings for each color that appears in the final work. Many of the stones are now housed in the University of Minnesota’s Kerlan Collection.
Abraham Lincoln received a Caldecott Medal in 1940 and the team received the Catholic Library Association’s Regina Medal for “distinguished contribution to children’s literature.” The D’Aulaire’s Trolls was a New York Times outstanding book of 1971 and was nominated for the National Book Award and the Hans Christian Anderson Award. Edgar died in 1986.