GEAB&P Successfully Represents Maurice Sendak’s Estate in “Rare Edition Book” Case

Jeffrey T. Golenbock and Elizabeth C. Conway obtained an important victory in the trial of the Maurice Sendak Estate “rare edition book” case. The litigation involved the interpretation of a provision in Sendak’s will bequeathing certain books to the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia. The Rosenbach claimed that 340 books should have been included in the bequest. The trial was held in the Northern Fairfield County Connecticut Probate Court and over three days of trial both sides provided expert and other testimony. The court decided that of the 340 items in issue, only 88 were to go to the Rosenbach and that 252 were to be retained by the estate.

Among the books and other items that were at issue in the case were two famous works by the 18th century British author/illustrator, William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. These two items are extremely rare and of very significant value. The court agreed with the arguments made by the Estate Executors and the Maurice Sendak Foundation, all of whom were represented by the firm, that neither of the Blakes was included in the bequest to the Rosenbach, and thus would be left to the Foundation.

Donald A. Hamburg, a Trusts and Estates Partner of the firm, is both an executor of the Sendak Estate and a Board member of The Maurice Sendak Foundation.

You can read more about the decision in articles about the case and decision published in The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.