Cathy Rubin co-author of The Real Alice in Wonderland contacted me recently with an interesting bit of trivia.
American Independence Day and Alice in Wonderland share the same birthday. So, I not only share my birthday with my country, I share it with a timeless story.
According Cathy, Friday July 4, 1862 is credited with the first time Lewis Carroll told Alice Liddell and her sisters the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was shortly after the first telling of Carroll’s story that Alice began to urge the author to write it down for her.
I’ve been intrigued by this book since I first heard about it, so I went to Cathy’s Web site to get more information about how and why she came to write this book.
“In 2007, my daughter’s school selected Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Book Day. My daughter Gabriella remembered we had a connection to the Liddell family. Alice Liddell inspired Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) to write the original story. At this point I knew very little about Alice Liddell’s story other than what my grandmother and my great aunt Phil Liddell had told me about her when I was a child. Gabriella bugged me to help her research the story. You could say we jumped down the rabbit hole together. It took us several months to research the content for our Book Day workshop which we called The Real Alice In Wonderland. After we presented the workshop to Gabriella’s school and other groups we were encouraged by educators, friends and family to turn our story into a film or book. The book as you can see came first!”
Like many other readers, I did not know that Lewis Carroll wrote about a real person. It was interesting to find out a bit about her:
Alice Liddell was born into a privileged, academic family on May 4, 1852. She was the fourth child of Henry and Lorina Liddell. Her father, one of the most prominent educators of his day, was the Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford University. Alice was home schooled by some of Oxford University’s finest tutors. She was a bright child with significant artistic talents. Alice was also known to be free-spirited (largely due to her never-ending curiousity about everything). She grew up to become a beautiful and cultured young woman. Her beauty inspired many distinguished photographers and artists such as Charles Dodgson, Julia Margaret Cameron and Sir William Blake Richmond. She also inspired the devotion of many suitors including Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria’s youngest son. In 1880, she married a wealthy landowner, Reginald Hargreaves, with whom she had three sons.
So, I wish a Happy Birthday to the gool ol’ U. S. A. and to the wonderful story of Alice and the rabbit hole.