by Jane Carpenter
Lothar Meggendorfer was born on November 6, 1847 in Munich, Germany. Most of the books he illustrated were mechanical books for children, but Meggendorfer's humorous illustrations also appeared in conventional books and in the humor periodicals of Fliegende Blatter and the Munchener Bilderbogen. What distinguished Lothar Meggendorfer's books and what has come to be regarded as his genius was his ability to create mechanical books with intricate and realistic movements that had both humor and grace.
Some of Meggendorfer’s most fabulous and elaborate books are his Internationaler Circus (1887) and Das Puppenhaus (1889?), both of which are part of Library Special Collections’ Toy and Movable Book Collection. These ingenious pop-out panoramas deceptively present themselves as simple book-size objects when closed, only to become astonishing multi-dimensional detailed fold-out panoramas—from Lothar Meggendorfer: The Master of Moveable Books for Children.
A list of Meggendorfer’s masterpieces must also include Buffalo Bill’s Wilder Westen (1891), which unfolds accordion-style into six chromolithographic panels featuring three tiers of pop-up figures in scenes from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Enormously successful, Buffalo Bill became a recognized celebrity not only in America but also in Europe; he was especially popular with the Germans. Meggendorfer’s lack of familiarity with these events from the American West meant that another artist probably created the drawings for the German edition, although Meggendorfer almost certainly was the mastermind behind the book design and paper engineering.
Call Number: *Z1033.T689 M44bu 1891
Lothar Meggendorfer Papers, ca. 1888 - 1943