Dorothy Kunhardt (née Dorothy Meserve; September 29, 1901 – December 23, 1979) was an American children’s-book author, best known for the baby book Pat the Bunny.[1] She was also a historian and writer about the life of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.


Kunhardt wrote nearly 50 books, including one of the bestselling children’s books in history, Pat the Bunny, which has sold over six million copies.[2] She had initially written it for her youngest child Edith.[3] Other works include Twenty Days, an account of Lincoln's assassination and the twenty days that followed, which she wrote with her son, Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr.; Tiny Animal Stories; The Telephone Book; Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather; Brave Mr. Buckingham; Junket is Nice (1933); Wise Old Aard-Vark (1936); and Now Open the Box.

Personal lifeEdit

A daughter of historian Frederick Hill Meserve,[4] she was born in New York City and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1923.[5][6] She married Philip B. Kunhardt, Sr. (son of George E. Kunhardt), a New Yorker and a Harvard Crimson football letterwinner.[7][8] They had four children:

  • Nancy Kunhardt Lodge (1927–1997),[9] who was married to Harvard Business School professor emeritus George Cabot Lodge II[10]
  • Philip Bradish Kunhardt, Jr. (1928–2006),[11][12] former reporter and managing director of Life magazine[13] and producer of documentaries such as PBS’s The American President;[14] married to the former Katharine Trowbridge and had 6 children,[15] including documentary filmmaker Peter Kunhardt, whose son is Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr.
  • Kenneth Bradish Kunhardt (1930–1995), stockbroker; married to the former Edith L. Woodruff of New York City, former schoolteacher,[16][17] 4 children. Woodruff is related to the Coolidge family of Boston through her mother.
  • Edith Kunhardt Davis (1937–2020)[18]children’s author and illustrator


  1. ^ Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. (December 23, 1990). "The Original Touchy-Feely: 'Pat the Bunny' Turns 50". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  2. ^ "A Rabbit's Feat : After 50 Years, 'Pat the Bunny' Remains a Developmental Touchstone for Millions of Babies". Los Angeles Times. April 11, 1994.
  3. ^ "Back in Print: 'Pat the Bunny' Author's Earliest Titles". Publishers Weekly. Aug 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "Keeping Lincoln's memory alive for 5 generations". CNN. February 12, 2009.
  5. ^ Zipes, Jack David, ed. (2006). "Kunhardt, Dorothy". Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature. 3. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195146561.
  6. ^ "The Class Book of 1923". Bryn Mawr College Library - The Archives. Bryn Mawr College.
  7. ^ "Harvard Club of New York: Social Focus for the Locals". The Harvard Crimson. January 8, 1957.
  8. ^ "Media Center: Harvard Crimson Football All-Time Letterwinners (since 1874)".
  9. ^ From information in U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
  10. ^ "Sen. Lodge's son to wed April 23". The Lowell Sun. April 15, 1949.
  11. ^ "Philip B. Kunhardt Jr., 78, Writer and Producer of Documentaries, Is Dead". The New York Times. March 24, 2006.
  12. ^ "Magazine editor, 78, was larger than Life". The Daily Princetonian. April 24, 2006. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "The American President — About the Series: Bios". PBS.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Memorials – Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. '50". Princeton Alumni Weekly. July 19, 2006. Archived from the original on June 7, 2014.
  16. ^ "Marriages". The College News. Bryn Mawr College. 39 (02): 3. October 8, 1952.
  17. ^ Burke’s Presidential Families of the United States of America. Arco (Burke’s Peerage Ltd). 1975. p. 116. ISBN 9780850110173.
  18. ^ "Edith Kunhardt Davis, keeper of the legacy of 'Pat the Bunny,' dies at 82". Washington Post. January 21, 2020.