Former Living Books CEO Donates Collection to The Strong
March 17, 2016
For Immediate Release
Former Living Books CEO
Donates Collection of Games and Company Records
to The Strong Museum
to The Strong Museum
ROCHESTER, New York—Jeff Schon, former CEO of pioneering software company Living Books, has donated to The Strong in Rochester, New York, hundreds of materials that document the company’s history in creating interactive storybooks and educational software, such as the CD-ROM version of the best-selling book Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer and Dr. Seuss’s ABC. The collection includes games and extensive company records from between 1993 and 2000, offering insight into crucial years of the computer software industry.
“Living Books was an innovator in the creation of interactive books and became a leader in the development of educational and entertaining software for young children,” says Jon-Paul C. Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “These records not only illuminate the company’s history and activities, but they also offer a tremendous amount of source material documenting the popularity of CD-ROM software, the growth of educational software, and the rise of the Internet.”
Video game developer Broderbund (which donated its company records to The Strong in 2014) developed the first Living Book in 1992. Broderbund contacted Random House about a joint venture, with Random House providing the electronic rights to Dr. Seuss books along with other best-selling Random House children’s authors. Living Books, a Broderbund/Random House Company, became the industry leader in electronic books in the mid-1990s with popular titles such as Green Eggs and Ham and Arthur’s Teacher Trouble.
“Living Books was a dream job; the excitement of developing a new medium and working with great people at Living Books, Broderbund, and Random House. We were in the right place, at the right time, with the right product. The year we launched Living Books, our sales and press dramatically exceeded expectations” says Schon. “For years, my wife asked me why I saved all these boxes of papers. I wasn’t sure until I was put in touch with The Strong. I’m delighted that these papers and software titles have found such a perfect home and that the records of this important period will be accessible to researchers for years to come.”
The Living Books Collection (1993–2000) includes 92 games and software titles; product development documents and focus group results for products such as the Green Eggs and Ham and Stellaluna titles; a wide range of materials that document the company’s operations, such as memos, strategic plans, sales reports, and press clippings; and materials related to the broader software industry, including industry news and analysis, retail software reports, and merchandising analysis.
“The Living Books Collection represents one of the most extensive corporate collections in The Strong’s electronic game archival collections,” says Dyson. The materials complement other major company collections such as those from Broderbund, Sierra Online, Her Interactive, and Strategic Simulations, Inc.
About The Strong
The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play.
About the International Center for the History of Electronic Games
The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography. As a result of ICHEG’s efforts, The Strong’s collection of video games, other electronic games, and game-related historical materials is the largest and most comprehensive public assemblage in the United States and one of the largest in the world.