susan hegeman

Leo and Diane Dillon


This post is about the artwork I’m using in the header of this blog.  Currently, I’m working on a project on MACOS, or Man a Course of Study.  MACOS was an innovative and lavishly-funded social studies curriculum that was created in the late 1960s and early 1970s US that emphasized anthropology and behavioral psychology.  For a variety of complex reasons, it became the subject of a heated culture war, and was fairly quickly abandoned.  Even more impressively, the controversy was sufficiently intense to effectively end similar such attempts to create major curricular reforms on the national scale.

The prints in my header were illustrations in a book in the MACOS curriculum called “This World We Know: Beliefs and Traditions of the Netsilik Eskimo,” collected by Knud Rasmussen. The illustrators were Leo and Diane Dillon, who would go on to win multiple Caldecott medals for their illustrations of children’s books, including the marvelous Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (1975). The Dillons, who worked collaboratively, are often acknowledged for having been pioneers in providing multiracial imagery for children’s book illustrations. For more info on them, see Leo Dillon’s NYT obituary.

Here are some of their illustrations from “This World We Know:”