The Eloise books
were the brain-child of the multi-talented Kay Thompson, who at various points
in her life was a radio personality, a vocal arranger at MGM and a popular
cabaret performer. Thompson died in 1998, and Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight says, “To her dying day, she
said it was not a child’s book. It offended her, you know, that people
considered it that.”
An exhibition at the New York Historical Society shines a
light on how Thompson and Knight brought Eloise to life.