"The Friends of Freddy" is an international membership
organization dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of
the writings of Walter R. Brooks and his literary alter ego, Freddy
Founded in 1984, the Friends of Freddy celebrates the writings of Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958) and his literary alter ego, Freddy the Pig.
First published by Alfred A. Knopf between 1927 and 1958, the Freddy books were illustrated by Kurt Wiese, who deftly brought to life hundreds of hilarious events throughout the series.
The 26 books in this remarkable achievement in children's literature contain more than 250 humorous characters. The books evoke both town and country, in the rural setting of the Bean farm and its nearby commercial hub, Centerboro.
When the Freddy books were allowed to go out of print in the 1970's, many mourned their loss and began to hunt them down in used bookstores and through out-of-print books search services.
From a small group of fans who had written Walter R. Brooks' widow came the first members of the Friends of Freddy. The Bean Home Newsletter began publication in 1984, and our first convention was held two years later. The first convention, in 1986, adopted our mission:
In 1988, at our second convention, the Walter R. Brooks Memorial Fund was established. Proceeds from this fund have been donated to the Roxbury Library, a private library in Brooks' home town.
Another charitable effort has been our Needy Schools and Libraries Book Donation Program, under which we have donated hundreds of Freddy books to libraries in New York State and around the country, to selected childrens' hospitals, and to shelters.
All of our dues and other proceeds go either to the aforementioned charities or to the newsletter, website, convention, and other ongoing operations of the club.
Conventions are held in upstate New York in the autumn of even-numbered years. Convention activities have included visits to both Walter R. Brooks' home in Roxbury, NY (where many of the books were written), and a tour of Rome, NY, his childhood home and the likely setting for "Centerboro."
Other than that, we have talks, round-table discussions, and a book auction. A recent tradition has been that of putting on dramatic productions based on the books. In 2000, we re-enacted the play from Freddy's Cousin Weedly as a puppet show. In 2004, we cooperated with the award-winning Open Eye Theater to perform a segment from Sandra Fenichel Asher's stage adaptation of Freddy the Detective. In 2006, the play was based on Freddy Plays Football. For 2008 we are going to do an radio program that takes the events in Freddy and Simon the Dictator and reports on them in the manner of the classic CBS News You Are There series with Walter Cronkite.
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