Judy Chancellor, longtime Yukon resident, and her husband recently traveled to Georgetown, Maine to visit Dahlov Ipcar.
Ipcar, 98, painted the mural that’s inside the United States Post Office on Garth Brooks Boulevard in 1941. Ipcar will turn 99 on Saturday.
Before marrying her husband, Ipcar was trying to get her book illustrations published, but no one who saw her portfolio seemed interested so she gave up. Her book illustrating career officially began in 1945 when The Little Fisherman by Margaret Wise Brown was published with her illustrations.
“And I just took off,” Ipcar said.
After doing a couple of books for other writers, she got the idea she could write her own books.
Ipcar’s first published book was Animal Hide and Seek in 1947. Then she ended up doing two books a year.
“You had to do all your own separations,” Ipcar said. “You were limited to your four colors. I got very good at doing that, but now everybody does full color illustrations and no one knows anything about doing that anymore.”
My Wonderful Christmas Tree is the only book Ipcar had printed in full color, which was the last book she illustrated.
She wrote and illustrated 30 children’s books, as well as wrote four fantasy novels and a volume of short stories for adults.
Chancellor owns nine or 10 of Ipcar’s books. She’s given them to her 8-year-old grandson, Dylan, who is a second grader at Central Elementary School. Chancellor said her and her family just love Ipcar’s work.
“I think it’s important,” Chancellor said. “She changed the whole dynamics of children’s books and children’s literature.”
Chancellor added that Ipcar was one of the pioneers of children’s literature. Prior to her work, people were writing fairy tales, but Ipcar gave them something they could physically see and understand to read about.
“She really changed the history of children’s books and she didn’t quit,” Chancellor said. “She did amazing things, just look at her books.”
Chancellor was born in Maine and feels a connection to Ipcar. She said she was excited to be able to visit her.
“She liked my husband. It was just my husband and I that went. We stayed an hour and she didn’t want us to leave,” Chancellor said. “There’s just so much to this lady. She is one neat woman.”
While visiting, Ipcar gave Chancellor the book Deep Sea Farm.
“It’s about a farm at the bottom of the ocean and a farmer who rides sea horses. It’s a really neat book. It’s my favorite,” Chancellor said.
Chancellor added that she thought the Mabel C. Fry Public Library in Yukon would benefit from displaying children’s book like Dahlov’s in the front case.