Madeline is an adorable red-headed boarding-school girl in Paris created by Ludwig Bemelmans, who was born in the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1898 and first came to America in 1914 when he was 16 years old. He was a contributor to magazines such as Vogue and Town and Country and also illustrated a number of cover illustrations for The New Yorker. Bemelmans had the idea to write the Madeline stories after visiting Paris with his daughter Barbara. The character of Madeline Fogg (her full name) is actually American, and her family owns a ranch in Texas. While Bemelmans created the character and worked as a writer and illustrator, he spent his later years working on oil paintings. But the most popular portion of his legacy remains Madeline, with the original book having its 75th anniversary this year.
Madeline’s birthday coincides with the publication of the 75th Anniversary Edition of Madeline with a pop-up panorama of Paris. Penguin also publishes a collection of Madeline stories in A Madeline Treasury as well as The Life and Art of Madeline’s Creator: Ludwig Bemelmans by the original author’s grandson John Bemelmans Marciano. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art has also organized the exhibition Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans at the New-York Historical Society from July 04 – October 13, 2014 — giving the feisty little yellow-clad girl the year-long celebration she deserves.