© WHMC-KC, University of Missouri, 1996
Mrs. Williams and her children, the real Cuddles and Tuckie
FRANCES ROYSTER WILLIAMS *
If contributions to development of youth are to be considered, who could ignore the contribution of "Cuddles and Tuckie" and related children's adventures to the heritage of our era.
After graduation from high school in Independence, Missouri where she won both art and English medals Frances Royster attended Pine Manor at Wellesley, Massachusetts and then the Kansas City Art Institute for two years. For three summers she was head of the Art Department at Camp Kechywa, Michigamme, Michigan. Frances then entered the field of free lance art work doing work for local stores as well as national companies. Many of her trademarks are still in use.
In 1926 Frances married Winthrop Williams, an officer of the Frank Paxton Lumber Company.
In addition to her newspaper and commercial art work, Mrs. Williams was associated with the Kansas City Star radio station, WDAF, from 1927 to 1933 doing work on the air as well as writing continuity for many adult programs.
In 1939 the Sunday Editor of the Kansas City Star asked her to do a children's feature for the young readers. She began by writing about happenings in the life of her own son. Soon friends of her children were included, together with neighborhood happenings. This expanded to include family pets. Then when her son and daughter started to school she included many things they learned. The Cuddles and Tuckie series ran in the Star as well as in approximately forty leading newspapers in the United States. Part of the series was made into radio programs at the request of the program manager of station WDAF, which she wrote and directed. Over 180 programs broadcast (1941-1958) including some T.V. shows. Over 2000 stories from the pen of Frances Williams have delighted our youth.
Whitman Publishing Company published a book of about thirty of the early newspaper stories in 1934, selling over 100,000 copies. Cuddles and Tuckie are now modern -- exploring space, visiting another planet, et cetera. As late as 1972 Hallmark published a "Christmas Adventures of Cuddles and Tuckie."
In 1948 the writing and direction of her Cuddles and Tuckie travel series won the National Award.
In 1949 a first award and citation for the radio series was given to Frances Williams for Outstanding Educational and Distinguished Radio Production for the best local program for children in the United States and Canada.
Over 200 educational newspaper features, especially nature stories, have been published for children in many large newspapers over the country. She was a pioneer in the field of newspaper work on tales revealing interesting and not commonly known facts about birds, fish, animals, flowers, et cetera.
Many awards from various organizations and literary groups were given for the excellence and accuracy of content as well as the artistic value and contribution to the field of cultural enrichment of children.
Mrs. Williams was appointed in 1949 as a member of a committee at City Hall on Worthwhile Books for Children to study and make recommendations for an ordinance that would improve reading and entertainment for children, and was first chairman of Children's Committee. She helped start the Radio Council of Greater Kansas City about 1942 and held the same chairmanship in 1960 in what is now the Radio and T.V. Council of Greater Kansas City.
* From the award, "Women Who Have Made A Difference," presented by the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City, Missouri, July 1, 1975.