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DON FREEMAN PAPERS

de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
The University of Southern Mississippi


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Creator: Don Freeman
Title: Don Freeman Papers
Dates: 1955 - 2002
Dates: [bulk 1955 - 1978]
Quantity: 9.10 cubic feet (11 boxes)
Identification: DG0346

Abstract: Painter, illustrator, graphic artist, and lithographer Don Freeman is perhaps best known as the creator of picture books for young children. His best-known work, Corduroy, the story of a stuffed bear searching for a missing button, is a classic of children's literature. The Don Freeman Papers contain illustrations, book dummies, color separations, galleys, and other materials created and accumulated by the artist between 1955 and 1978. The material is organized into two series: books and letters sent.

Biographical Note

Painter, illustrator, graphic artist, and lithographer Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in August 1908. He graduated from high school in St. Louis, Missouri, but his lifetime love of painting and drawing took him back to California to study art education at the San Diego School of Fine Arts. Freeman eventually hitchhiked to New York City, playing trumpet for dance bands to earn money while studying art at the famous Art Students' League. For several years he wavered between a career in art or music, but eventually found his creative niche while hanging around the city's theatre district. By the early 1930s Freeman's illustrations of New York City theatre life began getting notices and for the next twenty years he enjoyed success as a drama artist for the New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, and various theatrical publications. Many art galleries displayed his artwork during the 1930s and 1940s and he illustrated books for well-known writers such as William Saroyan and James Thurber.

Freeman married Lydia Cooley in 1931. The couple relocated to California in the late 1940s and began writing and illustrating stories for their young son, Roy. They published their first work in 1951, Chuggy and the Blue Caboose, a story inspired by the railroad tracks near their home. Two years later, their Pet of the Met, the story of a cat and mouse whose love of opera help them become friends, won the Herald Tribune Spring Book Festival Award. After that, Freeman wrote and illustrated his own works. He wrote dozens of children's stories, most of them immensely popular with a 4-to-8-year-old audience. His major literary works include Pet of the Met, Norman the Doorman, Dandelion, Corduroy, and Fly High, Fly Low, which earned runner-up honors for the Caldecott Medal in 1958. His literary prestige is such that the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) currently offers a grant in his name. He also designed the first medal for SCBWI's Golden Kite Award, granted at a time when the organization was known only as the Society of Children's Book Writers.

Although he made his home in Santa Barbara, California, Don Freeman made frequent trips to New York City to see friends, meet with publisher Viking Press, and go to the theatre. His books were almost all influenced by his love of the theatre, and by his own admission he attempted to "create his own theatre" in picture books.

Several of Freeman's non-literary art works are held by major art galleries and libraries, including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, San Francisco Fine Arts Museum, the British Museum, and the Naval Art Collection in Washington, D.C. In 1988 the University Press of Virginia published The Prints of Don Freeman: A Catalogue Raisonne, edited by Edith McCulloch, containing 145 illustrations.

Don Freeman died in February 1978 while his final book, A Pocket for Corduroy, was on the press. His son, Roy Freeman, currently manages the family estate.

Sources:
Collier, Laurie, and Joyce Nakamura. Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993. 880-883.
Kirkpatrick, Daniel, ed. Twentieth-Century Children's Writers. 2nd edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983. 301-302.
Senick, Gerard J., ed. Children's Literature Review. Vol. 30. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993. 63-82.
Sources from within the Don Freeman Papers


Scope and Content Note

The Don Freeman Papers contain illustrations, book dummies, color separations, galleys, and other materials created and accumulated by the artist between 1955 and 1978. The material is organized into two series: books and letters sent.

The books series includes production material for fifteen picture books published between 1955 and 1978. The papers in the books series are arranged alphabetically by title and the material for each book is arranged chronologically in order of creation when known. Freeman was a meticulous craftsman and continuously made revisions to his material, altering manuscripts and illustrations many times before finding a combination he liked. Forever Laughter appears to have gone through several revisions. Freeman initially used theatrical comedy and tragedy masks to tell a story using facial expressions instead of text. His mask concept progressed through several production stages, including a complete book dummy, but he eventually abandoned it. The final published version features human characters instead of theatrical masks, but still uses mostly facial expressions to tell the story.

Freeman apparently had more than one Parisian story in mind as he developed the concept for Inspector Peckit, the story of a Parisian detective who happens to be a pigeon. The manuscript for Inspector Peckit includes a manuscript for an unused story about the Petrini mouse family, characters who appear in other Freeman books. In the unused story, the Petrinis visit their Parisian relative Pierre and the Petrini children fall asleep in a cat sculpture at an art gallery. This storyline almost directly parallels that of The Guard Mouse, an earlier published work, which takes place in London with the mice falling asleep in a Beefeater's hat. Also among the Inspector Peckit manuscripts and sketches are several other plot possibilities for the Petrinis in Paris. In one, the cousin Pierre is a discouraged painter, and in another the artist is not a mouse, but a human, and the cat is a painting rather than a sculpture. In addition, the Inspector Peckit material also includes several watercolors of a Parisian cat named Kattiva, a plot possibility that Freeman temporarily toyed with but never fully developed. One watercolor portrays Kattiva and a small bird in front of a stained glass window. According to Freeman, the bird in that watercolor eventually developed into the Inspector Peckit character, whereas Kattiva was demoted to a minor character in the published version.

The commentary accompanying Freeman's 1974 The Seal and the Slick is of particular interest. A book about a fictional oil spill near Santa Barbara, it was published at the height of American ecological consciousness. In addition to the production materials for the book, the papers contain a sketchbook of editorial cartoons created by Freeman, several of which portray oil slicks as evil personalities threatening the pristine water and birdlife of the area. Other sketches depict the city of Santa Barbara as a muscular arm plucking oil rigs out of the water.

The letters in the letters sent series were selected and photocopied from the correspondence file of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection because they provide information on Freeman's illustrations and personality.


Series and Subseries

A. Books (1955 - 1978)

The April Foolers: A Play (1978)

Bearymore (1976)

Corduroy (1968)

Edward and the Night Horses (1971)

Far in the Day (1972)

Forever Laughter (1970)

The Guard Mouse (1967)

Inspector Peckit (1972)

Mop Top (1955)

The Night the Lights Went Out (1958)

Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library (1969)

A Rainbow of My Own (1966)

The Seal and the Slick (1974)

This for That (1965)

Will's Quill (1975)

B. Letters Sent (1973 - 2002)


Restrictions

Restrictions on Use

Noncirculating; available for research.

Copyright Restrictions

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials, other than that noted above.


Related Material

The typescript for Edward and the Night Horses can be found in the Jacklyn Meek Matthews Papers (DG0679). See also the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Papers (DG1135).


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Don Freeman Papers, de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.

Provenance

These papers were donated to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection of the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries by Don Freeman, Lydia Freeman (wife), and Roy Freeman (son) between 1972 and 2002.

Processing Information

Processed by C. Alder, September 2002. Encoded into EAD Version 1.0 by Danielle L. Bishop. This finding aid is the product of a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Container Listing

Box/Folder

.

A. Books

The April Foolers: A Play by Marjorie Thayer, illustrations by Don Freeman (Chicago: Children's Press, 1978)
1/1Spiral-bound book dummy with color sketches and typed text, edited, (1 item)
1/2Watercolor dust jacket illustrations, (1 item )
Bearymore story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1976)
1/3Early pencil version of p. 23, (1 sheet )
Corduroy story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1968)
1/4Signed early pencil and watercolor version of p. 6, marked 'first sketch,' (1 item )
1/5 Watercolor variation of p. 11, with pasted text, (1 item )
Edward and the Night Horses by Jacklyn Meek Matthews, illustrations by Don Freeman (San Carlos, Calif.: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1971)
1/6Book dummy with ink and watercolor sketches and pasted text, (1 item)
1/7Mounted ink illustrations for pp. 11, 28, and 29, two of which are signed and have pasted text, (3 items)
Far in the Day by Julia Cunningham, illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972)
1/8Signed black and white watercolor variation of p. 38, (1 item)
Forever Laughter story and illustrations by Don Freeman (San Carlos, Calif.: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1970)
1/9First version of dust jacket, entitled 'The Mirror and the Masks,' ink and crayon on card stock, (1 item)
1/10Second version of dust jacket, entitled 'Meeting of the Masks,' ink and gold paint on drawing paper, (1 item)
1/11Ink illustration of comedy and tragedy masks, ( 1 item)
1/12Storyboard with color pencil illustrations of comedy and tragedy masks, (7 pp.)
1/13Book dummy entitled 'The Masks: A Picture Pantomime," with third version of dust jacket and photocopied book pages, (1 item)
1/14Photocopied dummy pages, same as folder 1/12, with photocopies of book dummy covers, (1 item)
2/1Pen & ink illustrations and text for title page and pp. 7 - 16, (6 items)
2/2Pen & ink illustrations and text for pp. 17 - 25, (7 items )
2/3Pen & ink illustrations and text for pp. 26 - 33, (7 items )
2/4Pen & ink illustrations for pp. 34 - 40, (7 items )
2/5Pen & ink illustrations and text for pp. 41 - 47, (7 items)
2/6Pen & ink illustrations for pp. 48 - 53, (6 items )
2/7Pen & ink illustrations for pp. 54 - 59, (6 items )
2/8Pen & ink illustrations and text for pp. 60 - 64 and back of dust jacket, (4 items)
2/9'Gold' color separations for pp. 3, 7, 9, 13, 15, 17 - 22, 24, 26, 28 - 62, and 64, (50 items)
2/10Galley, marked for publication, August - September 1969, (5 sheets )
2/11Paste-ups of front matter, edited, (5 items )
2/12Fourth version of front dust jacket cover, black and gold paint, (1 item)
2/13Final version of dust jacket, original pen & ink illustration, (1 item )
2/14Dust jacket proof, (1 sheet )
The Guard Mouse story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1967)
3/1Unused ink sketch of a motorcycle policeman in front of a cathedral, (1 sheet )
3/2Ink sketches for pp. 5 and 18 - 20, (1 sheet )
3/3Book dummy with rough pencil and color sketch of title page only, (1 item)
3/4Early versions of illustrations for pp. 12, 14, 15, and 18 - 21, (6 items )
3/5Early versions of illustrations for pp. 24 - 25, 28, and 30 - 33, (4 items )
3/6Early ink sketches for pp. 38 - 39, 43 - 45, and 47, (6 items )
3/7Layout boards with watercolor variations of pp. 16, 18 - 19, and 28, (3 items)
3/8Layout boards with watercolor variations of pp. 40 - 43 and 46 - 47, (4 items )
3/9Color separations for title page and pp. 5 - 9, (4 items )
3/10Color separations for pp. 10 - 11 and 14 - 19, ( 4 items )
3/11Color separations for pp. 20 - 27, (4 items )
3/12Color separations for pp. 28 - 35, (4 items )
4/1Color separations for pp. 36 - 41, (3 items )
4/2Color separations for pp. 42 - 47, (3 items )
4/3Color separations for p. 48 and dust jacket, (2 items)
Inspector Peckit story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1972)
4/4Manuscript with ink sketch, includes unused manuscript for a "Petrini family at a Parisian art gallery" story, (11 pp.)
4/5Unused manuscript with ink sketches for a "Petrini family visits Parisian cousin" story, (2 pp.)
4/6Unused ink sketches and notes about a Parisian artist and his painting of a cat, (1 sheet)
4/7Watercolor illustrations for an unused story about a Parisian cat named Kattiva, (4 sheets )
4/8Manuscript with ink sketches and watercolor illustrations, (18 sheets )
4/9Single sketchbook containing three rough book dummies, black marker sketches and handwritten text, (1 item)
4/10Early large watercolor sketches for pp. 5 - 7, 12, and 19, with handwritten text, (4 items)
4/11Charcoal pencil illustrations on pebbled paper, variations of pp. 5 - 9, (7 sheets )
4/12Later black and white watercolor illustrations for pp. 8 - 9 and 23, (2 items )
1/15'Black' color separation layouts of dust jacket and title pages, with lettering for title, (3 items)
5/1'Black' color separation layouts for pp. 5 - 9, (4 items )
5/2'Black' color separation layouts for pp. 10 - 13, (4 items )
5/3'Black' color separation layouts for pp. 14 - 17, (4 items )
5/4'Black' color separation layouts for pp. 18 - 19 and 21, (3 items)
5/5'Black' color separation layouts for pp. 24 - 25, (2 items )
5/6'Black' color separation layouts for pp. 26 - 29, (3 items )
5/7'Black' color separation layouts for pp. 31 - 32, (3 items )
5/8'Blue' color separation overlay for dust jacket and title pages, (3 items)
6/1'Blue' color separation layouts for pp. 5 - 10, (5 items )
6/2'Blue' color separation layouts for pp. 11 - 16, (6 items )
6/3'Blue' color separation layouts for pp. 17 - 19, 21, and 24, (5 items)
6/4'Blue' color separation layouts for pp. 25, 28 - 29, and 31 - 32, (5 items)
6/5Galley, minor editing, 14 January 1972, (3 sheets )
6/6Tabletop promotional display from Viking Press, (1 item)
Mop Top story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1955)
6/7Book dummy with early illustrations and text (1 of 2), (7 items )
6/8Book dummy with early illustrations and text (2 of 2), (8 items )
6/9Two-color color separations, early versions of pp. 7, 22, 38, 42, 45, and 48, (6 items)
7/1Proofs and reverse proofs, variations of p. 22 and front papers, (4 items )
7/2Scratchboard illustration, variation of p. 29, (1 item )
7/3Pencil illustration, variation of p. 34, (1 item )
7/4Color guide, (1 item )
The Night the Lights Went Out story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1958)
7/5Signed scratchboard illustration for p. 43, matted for sale, (1 item )
Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library story and illustrations by Don Freeman (San Carlos, Calif.: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1969)
7/6Ink and watercolor illustrations on grey paper, variations of pp. 6 - 7, (2 sheets)
7/7Pencil sketches for early variations of pp. 9 - 11, (1 sheet )
7/8First book dummy, ink and crayon sketches with handwritten text, (1 item)
7/9Second book dummy, pencil and watercolor sketches with handwritten text, (1 item)
7/10Third book dummy, marker and watercolor sketches with handwritten text, (1 item )
7/11Fourth book dummy, crayon and watercolor illustrations with handwritten text, (1 item )
7/12First manuscript, ( 2 pp. )
7/13Second manuscript, (3 pp.)
7/14First typescript, (2 pp. )
7/15Second typescript, (3 pp.)
7/16Third typescript, (1 p.)
7/17Fourth typescript, edited, (3 pp.)
7/18Handwritten layout of title page, marked for publication, (1 sheet)
7/19Color separation layouts for title page, pp. 5 - 7 and 9, (5 items)
7/20Color separation layouts for pp. 10 - 15, (6 items )
7/21Color separation layouts for pp. 16 - 21, (6 items )
7/22Color separation layouts for pp. 22 - 29, (7 items )
8/1Signed 'black' color separation layout for pp. 28 - 29, (1 item)
8/2Color separation layouts for pp. 30 - 35, (6 items )
8/3Color separation layouts for pp. 38 - 43, (5 items )
8/4Color separation layouts for pp. 44 - 48, (5 items )
8/5Photocopied lettering for title on dust jacket cover, edited, (1 item)
8/6Color separation layout of dust jacket, (1 item )
8/7Two identical galleys, one paginated and marked for publication, with photocopies of original folders, (4 items)
8/8Corrected color proof of first signature, (1 item)
8/9Typescript, paste-up, and galleys for front matter, edited, (8 sheets)
8/10Galleys of dust jacket copy, minor editing, 13 November 1968, (4 sheets)
A Rainbow of My Own story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1966)
9/1Unused pencil and watercolor sketch, matted and signed 'To Lena deGrummond with fondest best wishes, Don Freeman, 1972,' (1 item)
9/2Unused ink and watercolor illustrations, (2 items)
9/3Watercolor and crayon illustrations, variations of p. 7, ( 3 items)
9/4Watercolor illustrations, variations of pp. 8 - 9, (4 items )
9/5Watercolor illustrations, variations of pp. 14 - 15, (2 items )
9/6Black and white watercolor illustration for p. 21, (1 item )
9/7Watercolor illustrations, variations of p. 23, (2 items )
9/8Pencil sketches for pp. 24 - 26, with handwritten text, (3 pp. )
9/9Watercolor illustration, variation of pp. 28 - 29, (1 item )
9/10Pencil and crayon sketches for pp. 30 - 31 and unused, (3 pp.)
9/11Charcoal and watercolor illustration, variation of pp. 32 - 33, (1 item)
9/12Book dummy with watercolor illustrations and handwritten text, (1 item )
9/13Watercolor illustrations, variations of front dust jacket, (4 items )
9/14Watercolor illustrations, variations of back dust jacket, (2 items )
9/15Blue of dust jacket, edited, (1 item )
The Seal and the Slick story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1974)
9/16Drawing tablet with self-illustrated editorial cartoons about oil spills, ( 13 pp.)
9/17Unused watercolor illustration of an oil slick, (1 item )
9/18Large sketchpad with watercolor illustrations and handwritten text, (16 pp.)
9/19Pencil sketches of pelicans, egrets, and seals, (7 sheets )
9/20Watercolor illustration of a seal, (1 item )
9/21Watercolor illustrations, early versions of p. 5, with printed text, (5 items)
9/22Watercolor and crayon illustrations, variations of pp. 9 - 10, (2 items )
9/23Watercolor illustrations, early versions of pp. 9 - 11, (3 items )
10/1Watercolor illustrations, early versions of pp. 13 - 14, (1 item )
10/2Watercolor illustration, variation of pp. 15 - 17, (1 item )
10/3Watercolor illustration, early version of p. 26, (1 item )
10/4Watercolor illustration, early version of front dust jacket, ( 1 item)
10/5First book dummy, with watercolor illustrations and handwritten text, (1 item )
10/6Second book dummy, with watercolor illustrations and pasted-on typed text, (1 item)
10/7Third book dummy, slightly water damaged, with crayon illustrations and pasted-on printed text, (1 item)
10/8Final watercolor illustrations for dust jacket, title page, and pp. 4 - 8, (5 items)
10/9Final watercolor illustrations for pp. 9 - 18, (7 items )
10/10Final watercolor illustrations for pp. 19 - 26, (7 items )
10/11Final watercolor illustrations for pp. 27 - 32, (6 items )
11/1Typescript, edited and marked for publication, (5 pp. )
11/2First galley, edited, marked 'Author's Proof,' (2 sheets )
11/3Photocopy of first galley, edited, ( 4 sheets )
11/4Photocopy of first galley, further edited, (4 sheets)
11/5Second galley, edited, (2 sheets )
11/6Photocopy of second galley, July 1973, (5 sheets )
This for That story by Ann Nolan Clark, illustrations by Don Freeman (San Carlos, Calif.: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1965)
11/7Book dummy with pencil and watercolor illustrations and handwritten text for pp. 2 - 3, 6, 9 - 11, and 36 - 62, (1 item)
Will's Quill story and illustrations by Don Freeman (New York: Viking Press, 1975)
11/8Press sheet, (1 item )



.

B. Letters Sent

11/9Letters sent to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, 1973 - 2002, (3 items)



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