Posted on September 16, 2009
Norman Rockwell Museum is celebrating the release of a new memoir that offers a deeply personal view of Norman Rockwell, and brings vividly to life the place and people of rural New England in the 1940s. “The Unknown Rockwell: A Portrait of Two American Families” tells the story of the Edgerton and Rockwell families, next-door neighbors for 10 years in West Arlington, Vermont. Different in many respects- the Edgertons were a long-time farming family, while the Rockwells moved to Vermont from the urbane artist community of New Rochelle, New York- they found common ground in the values of work and decency, and forged a lasting friendship. Now, six decades later, Buddy Edgerton, who was a young teen when he first met Rockwell and frequently modeled for the artist, has written the story of his upbringing and created an intimate, affectionate portrait of the famous family who lived next door.

On October 8 from 2 to 5 p.m., join Buddy Edgerton and his co-author Nan O’Brien at Norman Rockwell Museum for the launch of “The Unknown Rockwell.” The celebration includes readings from the memoir, book signings, the chance to meet some of Rockwell’s Vermont models, and the special unveiling of a previously unknown Rockwell portrait, recently discovered by the authors. Admission is free for children 18 and under. Adults are free with regular Museum admission.

“Buddy Edgerton’s memoir offers a compelling glimpse of Norman Rockwell’s Arlington,” says Stephanie Plunkett, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Norman Rockwell Museum. “A warm reflection on the lives and times of beloved neighbors and friends who were immortalized in Rockwell’s art. We are honored to host the launch of Buddy Edgerton’s personal narrative, and to share it with what will surely be an appreciative public.”

In the Spring of 1943, Norman Rockwell, his wife Mary, and their three young sons moved into the farmhouse next door to thirteen-year old Buddy Edgerton and his family in West Arlington, Vermont. What developed was a close, though unlikely, friendship between the Rockwell and Edgerton families that has spanned more than six decades. Edgerton recalls that “life was not easy for my young parents as they struggled to raise four kids during the Depression, but my mom and dad never complained, they just went about their work with a determined hand and an unswerving belief in the proverbial golden rule, and they instilled that same belief in my sisters and me… Our life was like a Norman Rockwell illustration- because for more than ten years, Norman Rockwell illustrated our life.” Buddy Edgerton’s story is a fascinating look at Norman Rockwell and his family from the unique perspective of a close friend, model, and longtime neighbor. Insights and memories include a surprising revelation of the existence of a previously unknown Rockwell portrait. For more information about the book, visit