Curious George has a long history in the city of Boston. Although Hans Augusto (H. A.) and Margret Rey originally created the character in the 1930s while living in Paris, Boston-based publishing company Houghton Mifflin published the seven original Curious George books between 1941 and 1966.
In June of 1940, the Nazis were marching toward Paris while Margret and Hans were fleeing the city on bicycles, with manuscripts about an inquisitive monkey named Fifi stowed in their bike baskets. Traveling by bicycle and train across France and Spain to Lisbon, then by steamship to Rio de Janeiro, and at last to America, the Reys finally found a home with Fifi, now renamed George, in New York City. In 1941, Houghton Mifflin published the first Curious George book. When the Reys moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, they brought the whole creation process together in one place.
The Reys worked together to create the seven original titles, with Margret writing the stories and Hans illustrating them. After her husband’s passing in 1977, Margret remained in Cambridge and taught creative writing at Brandeis University. In collaboration with Allan Shalleck, she created a second series of twenty-eight Curious George books—all published by Houghton Mifflin between 1984 and 1990.
In 1995, Margret Rey persuaded Houghton Mifflin to grant permission to two longtime friends and Cambridge residents to open a Curious George-themed children’s bookstore in Harvard Square. The store Curious George Goes to Wordsworth (later Curious George and Friends) opened the following year and operated for 15 years before closing its doors in 2011.
After a nearly one-year hiatus, Curious George returned to Cambridge in April 2012, with the grand opening of the renamed and redesigned World’s Only Curious George Store, Harvard Square. Owners Adam and Jamie Hirsch bring new energy to all things Curious George with a revamped product line including original creations available nowhere else in the world.