Beatrix Potter Was an Amazing Woman

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It is said by some that Beatrix Potter was a shy woman and very uncomfortable in public.
She'd had a very lonely and isolated childhood and her parents were very strict and upright.
And because they had schooled her at home, Beatrix had very little contact with the outside world.
At age 15 Beatrix was stifled even further when her parents put a stop to what little education she was receiving and put her in charge of the household.
So you would think that she would be this mousey little woman who went blindly through life with her head down and letting others lead her by the hand all the way.
However, Potter was a very astute business women, especially for the era in which she lived.
Born in 1866, Beatrix was raised in an era where women weren't trusted to make decisions about anything other than the running of the household.
And even then, if the man said he wanted dinner on the table at 6 sharp it darn well better be there.
Yet this shy little woman managed to get her book "Peter Rabbit" published, against all odds and went on to build an empire based on just short little children's stories and her beautiful drawings.
Potter's first book, The Tale Of Peter Rabbit And Mr.
McGregor's Garden, was originally turned down by six publishers.
Some wanted a shorter story, some wanted longer, but all wanted color drawings instead of the black and white that Potter had used.
At the time, Potter refused and published the book herself.
On December 16, 1901 the first 250 copies were privately printed for distribution to Potter's family and friends, with one copy even going to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, for his own children.
The book was so successful that another 200 copies were ordered.
In the meantime though, Potter had been convinced of the necessity to convert her black and white drawings to color and Frederick Warne & Co.
agreed to publish it.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
But the part that I find really intriguing is not that she finally managed to get that first book published, but what she did next.
Peter Rabbit became such a popular and beloved character that Potter registered for a patent for a Peter Rabbit Doll in 1903, the first licensed character ever created.
And the following year she designed a Peter Rabbit Board Game.
From there she went on to maintain strict standards for licensing of any toys or products that were in any way related to her books.
Even to the point of turning down a request from Walt Disney himself when he approached her about making a movie from her books.
It just seems amazing to me that this woman, who had led such a sheltered life, would have the tenacity and strength to she her vision through the way she did.
In fact, I'm just amazed she even had the vision.
Certainly, an author today with an award winning book would look at every way possible to capitalize on his characters.
But when you consider that Beatrix Potter accomplished all of this after having led such a sheltered life and only being educated to the age of 15, I wonder how much more this marvelous woman could have accomplished if she had been born today instead of a century and a half ago.
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