Feodor Rojankovsky (Roh-jan-Koff-skee)
(December 24, 1891 ~ 1970)
Rojankovsky was born December 24, 1891, in Mitavia, Russia. He died in 1970 white living in Bronxville, NY.
'.. When people ask me, 'Where are you from? I answer, 'From Russia.' Then l feel that l owe them an explanation. My father was a teacher and administrator of high schools and his changing jobs took him across imperial Russia. My sister was born in Kishinev, which meant that she became Rumanian when the city was taken by the Rumanians. One of my brothers was born in Odessa and therefore became a Ukrainian or a 'Little Russian'; the other brother was born near Moscow and therefore he was a 'Great Russian.' My second sister was born in Estonia and in Mitava, Latvia. So we had five nationalities in one family. When l tried to explain that to an officer of the immigration and Naturalization Service, he held his head with both hands and then grabbed an aspirin. I told him the story of a Jew who tried to explain that he was not a Pole .' But weren't you born in Poland?', asked the officer. 'Listen ,' answered the poor man, 'if a sparrow is born in a stable, that does not mean he is a horse.'
"Two great events determined the course of my childhood. l was taken to the zoo and saw the most marvelous creatures on earth: bears, tigers, monkeys and reindeer, and, while my admiration was running high, l was given a set of color crayons. Naturally, I began immediately to depict the animals which captured my imagination. Also when my eider brothers, who were in schools in the capital, came home for vacation, I tried to copy their drawings and to imitate their paintings.
"Later when l went to school in Reval Tallinn, an ancient town on the shores of the Baltic sea my love for art was enhanced and strengthened by a passion for nature. Tailinn was surrounded by forest. The sea presented wonderful opportunities for excursions and study of sea life. But there were also steamers, sailboats, flags, and all the excitement of a port. This was no less exciting than playing Red Indians or reading James Fenimore Cooper, the beloved author of all Russian children before, during, and after the Revolution .. [Bertha Mahony Miller and Eiinor Whitney Field, editors, CaIdecott Medal books: 1938-1957, Horn Book, 1957.]
"I entered the Moscow Fine Arts Academy but two years later l was serving as an officer in the 1914-17 campaign. My regiment traveled through Poland, Prussia, Austria and Rumania. My war sketches were reproduced by art magazines. During the Revolution I started to make children's book illustrations for the young Ukrainian Republic. In 1919 I was mobilized by the 'Volunteer Army' (White Army), and soon my military career was finished behind barbed wire in Poland. Since then I have seen many countries and had many occupations." [Lee Kingman and others, compilers, Illustrators of Children's Books: 1957-1966, Horn Book, 1968.]
Rojankovsky arrived in the United States in 1941, after the occupation of Paris.
He must of been illustrating up until his death because the last book with new illustrations was published around 1970.