MICHAEL McCURDY was born in New York City in 1942 and grew up in New Rochelle, New York, and in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He attended Marblehead High School and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (where for a year (1965-1966) his roommate was David McPhail, now the well-known children’s book author and illustrator). Another future children’s book illustrator, Wallace Tripp, shared the busy printmaking department with McCurdy and McPhail. Michael created his first wood engraving there in 1962. He was graduated as well from Tufts University in Medford, MA (B.F.A., M.F.A.), and in 1966 was awarded a traveling scholarship from the Museum School.
A conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, he worked for two years as an orderly in the orthopedic ward at Children’s Hospital in Boston to fulfill his military obligation. When released from the hospital in 1969, he and his wife Deborah used his grant to spend nearly five months traveling throughout Europe and the Soviet Union.
Michael has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA 1966-1977), Concord Academy (Concord, MA 1972-1975), various adult printmaking courses in Concord and Lincoln, and at Wellesley College Library’s Book Arts Program, 1976. He also has had many exhibitions of his work, and currently over 200 books contain his illustrations.
Michael has illustrated books he has authored as well. These include Toward the Light (a collection of his wood engravings with accompanying anecdotes, published in Canada); The Illustrated Harvard: Harvard University in Wood Engravings and Words; The Devils Who Learned to be Good; Hannah’s Farm: The Seasons on an Early American Homestead; The Old Man and the Fiddle, and Trapped by the Ice: Shackleton’s Amazing Antarctic Adventure. He edited and illustrated an abridged version of Frederick Douglass’s first autobiography, renamedEscape from Slavery: The Boyhood of Frederick Douglass in His Own Words, published in 1994. His latest authored and illustrated book is, An Algonquian Year: The Year According to the Full Moon.