Kirkus Reviews called her memoir “a raw outpouring,” adding, “Only John Gunther’s ‘Death Be Not Proud,’ an account of his son’s death, rivals it in the literature of parental grief and recovery.”
Edith Turner Kunhardt was born on Sept. 30, 1937, in Morristown, N.J. Her father, Philip B. Kunhardt, was a textile executive.
In addition to writing children’s books, her mother revered Abraham Lincoln, a passion she inherited from her father, Frederick Hill Meserve. Their house in Morristown was filled with Lincoln and Civil War memorabilia. Over the decades, her father amassed one of America’s greatest private collections devoted to Lincoln, with about 73,000 items, including a snippet of Lincoln’s hair.
By now, five generations of the family have been absorbed in Lincoln, and many, including Dorothy Kunhardt, wrote books about him. On a trip to Springfield, Ill., she bought lamps from the parlor where Lincoln was married and used them to light her own house. Little wonder that Edith would eventually write her own account, a children’s book called “Honest Abe” (1993).
In a later memoir, “My Mother, the Bunny and Me” (2016), Edith recalled her eccentric childhood between the Depression and World War II and the creative household in which she was raised, with her mother’s literary friends, like Carl Sandburg and Isak Dinesen, coming and going. Dorothy Kunhardt wrote 43 children’s books before she died in 1979.