PHILADELPHIA — The Rosenbach Museum & Library is celebrating the work of Maurice Sendak with an expansion of its gallery space and "Really Rosie," a new show exploring the children's book author's collaboration with singer-songwriter Carole King.
"Really Rosie," perhaps best known to people who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, premiered on television in 1975 and became a bestselling soundtrack and popular musical. It adapted characters from several of Sendak's books and was set in Sendak's native Brooklyn, N.Y.
"It's a good one to choose because it brings out the many facets of his career," said Karen Schoenewaldt, one of the show's curators.
King was the voice of the precocious Rosie, leader of the Nutshell Kids, for the animated TV special, which is projected on a wall in the gallery.
Visitors will see "Rosie"-related items never before on public view, including delicate ink-and-watercolor background scenes, character sketch studies, handwritten sheet music and a newly restored 9-by-11 drawing Sendak did in 1980 for the New York Times Magazine.
The small exhibit provides a taste of things to come when the museum makes more room for its large Sendak collection.
In May, three additional galleries devoted to his work will open inside the museum -- actually a pair of historic 1865 town houses where prominent book dealer and collector A.S.W. Rosenbach and his brother, Philip, lived in the early- and mid-20th century.
The museum was founded in 1954, shortly after the brothers died, and still houses their fine art and furniture in most of the rooms. There is also a vast research library that includes the original manuscript of James Joyce's "Ulysses," drawings by William Blake and poet Marianne Moore's archives and the original contents of her New York City living room.
The Sendak-Rosenbach connection comes largely from a mutual love of collecting rare books. Sendak, now 79 and author and illustrator of such works as "Where the Wild Things Are," "In the Night Kitchen" and "Outside Over There," first visited the place in the 1950s for research on author Herman Melville.
Today the Rosenbach has about 10,000 Sendak items, from book illustrations and animation cels to correspondence and first editions.