Boston Public Garden ©Author Adventures

Robert McCloskey

Robert McCloskey (formally John Robert McCloskey) was a Caldecott Medal-winning writer and illustrator who may be best known for the classic children’s book Make Way for Ducklings, which is set in Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied and worked as an artist. At the time, Boston’s population was approximately 771,000. Today the Boston area has grown to more than five times that.

According to “Robert McCloskey landed in Boston during the Great Depression, having won a scholarship in 1932 to study at Vesper George School of Art. The Ohio native had aspirations to make it big as a fine artist. He assisted Francis Scott Bradford in painting murals of the Massachusetts State House, the Charles River, Louisburg Square and other Boston scenes at the Lever Brothers Building (now part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Cambridge. He drew syndicated cartoons. He painted watercolors in Provincetown. And on his way to art classes on St. Botolph Street, McCloskey (1914-2003) sometimes passed through the Public Garden and fed the ducks. It was those ducks who would inspire McCloskey’s most famous artwork, his now classic 1941 picture book ‘Make Way for Ducklings.’”

Other critically acclaimed books by the author include Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Time of Wonder.

Read more about the author through our Ohio page.

Boston Public Garden

Visitors enjoy seeing the duck sculptures and swans recognized from Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings, at the Boston Public Garden. It is a peaceful place to relax. When we were there, the summer flowers bloomed in bright hues of purple, yellow and red.  And, of course, ducks made their presence known too.

For information on how to help preserve Boston Public Garden, visit

This is the fourth stop on Massachusetts Author Adventures Trail Part 1.

Patricia Smart