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December 03, 2014

Sendak Foundation Head Readies Museum Amid Estate Dispute

The New York Times profiles Lynn Caponera, the longtime housekeeper and caretaker for Maurice Sendak, whom the late children's book author and illustrator left in charge of his charitable foundation and plans for a museum at his Connecticut home. The foundation is embroiled in a legal fight with Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum and Library over a valuable collection of rare books the museum says it was bequeathed by Mr. Sendak.

Ms. Caponera went to work for Mr. Sendak 35 years ago, when she was 19, and critics of her handling of the estate and foundation note that she has no training or experience in running a complex, multimillion-dollar enterprise. She and two co-executors of Mr. Sendak's estate recently withdrew from the Rosenbach more than 10,000 artworks the author had loaned to the institution over a decades-long association.

Ms. Caponera says she was Mr. Sendak's assistant in almost every aspect of his life and is deeply familiar with his work, his collection, and his wishes. She says he wanted the bulk of his drawings and manuscripts to reside at the museum and study center his will directed to be developed at his home outside Ridgefield, Conn.