Inside the south branch of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, you’ll find a drawing in marker of Clifford the Big Red Dog that author and illustrator Norman Bridwell signed. The drawing at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library South is fittingly displayed in the Children’s Services Department, feet away from many of Bridwell’s books. Some local schools have similar drawings, donated during visits to his hometown over the years.
The Library also has a small collection of Norman Bridwell’s family photos. In February 2009, the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library hosted Clifford’s Big Red Event to celebrate Bridwell’s birthday and pay tribute to the publishing legend. As part of the celebration, the library created an exhibit, “Never Give Up on Your Dreams,” which included family photos and notes provided by Bridwell. Those 25 photos in its Howard County Memory Project, a digital collection.
You can see those photos here: http://collections.howardcountymemory.net/digital/collection/NBridwell/id/25. The photos give a window into Bridwell’s childhood and family. They include a photo of Bridwell as a baby with his father and brother, Vern; he and his brother on bended knees saying their prayers with their mother; a photo of his brother in uniform (he was very proud of his brother and his service to America); a photo of his grandfather, a butcher at A.K. McElwee; Bridwell with his parents after graduating from Kokomo High School; and a photo of him and other kids from his neighborhood. He wrote notes on the photos. He included his first birthday card, which talks about a sweet baby. In typical, humble Bridwell fashion, he noted on the photo: “I wasn’t really that sweet.”