Laura Gellott

Can a book read in childhood be the inspiration for a lifetime of teaching and European travel? Helen Perry Curtis’s Jean & Company, Unlimited, the charming account of an American girl’s first encounter with Europe, was precisely that for author and historian Laura Gellott.

Six years ago, Gellott located Curtis’s three granddaughters. That meeting resulted in the publication of Helen Perry Curtis and the European Trip of a Lifetime. Gellott’s book traces Curtis’s life from its Nebraska roots to New Jersey and New York and across the European continent in the 1930s. She tells the story of the real-life travels behind Jean & Company, Unlimited, a book designated as a Junior Literary Guild Selection in January, 1938.

Laura Gellott is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha), where she taught European history for 30 years. She is a frequent European traveler. She first read Jean & Company, Unlimited, nearly 60 years ago. She has found it to be an ever-reliable guide.

Laura Gellott will read from her latest book, Helen Perry Curtis and the European Trip of a Lifetime, Saturday, October 23, at 2:30 p.m. at the University of Iowa Main Library.