Margret E. Rey, part of the husband and wife team which created the mythical Curious George died on December 22nd in her Cambridge home. She had suffered a heart attack three weeks earlier. She helped create the monkey character while she and her husband were living in Paris during the 1930s. They smuggled an unpublished manuscript out of France when they escaped before Hitler’s occupation. Houghton Mifflin published the first story in 1941; the Reys subsequently wrote six more books about Curious George’s antics. Margret went on to write 28 Curious George books with Alan J. Shalleck.
Born in Germany, Rey studied at the Bauhaus, the Academy of Art in Duesseldorf and at an art school in Berlin. She held her first one-woman watercolor show in Berlin in the early 1920s. She later worked as a newspaper reporter, an advertising copywriter and photographer. Making her way to New York after escaping Paris with her husband, Rey went on to create more children’s books and oversee the Curious merchandising projects. Moving to Cambridge in 1971, she became a large benefactor: donating $1 million each to the Boston Public Library and the Beth Israel Hospital’s Center for Alternative Medicine for Research.