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

Click here to search for digitized items from this collection

Creator: Flavia Gág
Title: Flavia Gág Papers
Dates: 1952 - 2001
Dates: [bulk 1952 - ca. 1977]
Quantity: .30 cubic feet (1 box)
Identification: DG0357

Abstract: Flavia Gág, the youngest child of an artistic family, authored and illustrated numerous books and magazine articles, most of which featured children or animals. The Flavia Gág Papers contain typescript pages, illustrations, and book dummies for five published and two unpublished books, plus several paintings and photographs.

Biographical Note

Flavia Gág was born into an artistic Minnesota family in May 1907, the youngest of seven children. She credited her love of animals and the outdoors to vacations spent on her grandmother's farm on the Minnesota River. After the deaths of their parents, all seven of the Gág children, including nine-year-old Flavia, moved to Minneapolis with the eldest child, Wanda, herself later a successful children's author and illustrator. Upon graduation from high school, Flavia worked for four years in New York City as a stenographer, but left it to "revel" in drawing and writing stories and songs while living with Wanda in New Jersey. With her sister's encouragement Flavia began writing and illustrating children's books. Flavia's earliest magazine illustration appeared in 1935, the first of many she drew for children's periodicals such as Jack and Jill, St. Nicholas, and Child's Life. Her first book illustrations were published in 1939. Although she illustrated for other authors, she eventually wrote and illustrated her own books, including Melon Patch Mystery, A Wish for Mimi, and Four Legs and a Tail.

Flavia Gág retired to Florida in the late 1950s where she continued to make chalk-talks at local libraries. She died in 1979 at the age of seventy-two.

Illustrators of Children's Books: 1946-1956, eds. Ruth Hill Viguers, et al (Boston: The Horn Book, 1958): 116
More Junior Authors, ed. Muriel Fuller (New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1963): 96-7
Something about the Author, ed. Anne Commire (Detroit: Gale Research, 1981): 24:119

Scope and Content Note

The Flavia Gág Papers contain typescript pages, illustrations, and book dummies for five published and two unpublished books created between 1952 and the early 1970s. The papers also contain three original watercolor paintings, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, and a library flyer. The material is organized into three series: literary works, paintings, and ephemera.

The papers in the literary works series are organized into two subseries: published and unpublished books. The published books subseries includes illustrations and typescript pages for five children's books published between 1952 and 1964. In order to reduce costs and simplify the printing process, Gág often drew multiple illustrations on a single large acetate sheet which could then be cut into pieces if necessary. Several of her illustrations and typescript pages bear accompanying notes explaining either the technique or the reasoning behind that production piece. The unpublished books subseries contains two book dummies written by Belva Norene Slate, Gág's Florida neighbor, with illustrations by Flavia Gág. In each subseries, the papers are arranged alphabetically by title and the material for each book is arranged chronologically in order of creation when known.

The paintings series consists of three watercolors drawn by Flavia Gág in the 1960s and 1970s. Belva Norene Slate purchased the two hibiscus paintings, one of which was drawn in 1962, for $8.00 each. The watercolor snow scene was Gág's last painting, created while she resided in a Florida nursing home.

The materials in the ephemera series include photographs, newspaper clippings, and a Children's Book Week library flyer. The photographs show Flavia Gág making public appearances and include personal photos of her in later life. Also included in the series are selected letters sent to the de Grummond Collection by Flavia Gág and Belva Norene Slate. These letters have been selected and photocopied from the de Grummond Collection's correspondence file because they contain information on Gág's work. They are arranged chronologically.

Series and Subseries

A. Literary Works

1. Published Books (1952 - 1964)

Chubby's First Year (1960)

Four Legs and a Tail (1952)

The Melon Patch Mystery (1964)

Tweeter of Prairie Dog Town (1957)

A Wish for Mimi (1958)

2. Unpublished Books

The ABC's of Food [n.d.]

Ronald Raccoon [n.d.]

B. Paintings (1962 - ca. 1970s)
C. Ephemera (ca. 1960s - 2002)


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.

Separated Material

Woodblock print announcement of a 1928 Wanda Gág art show transferred to the Wanda Gág Papers (DG0358).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

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


These papers were donated to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection of the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries by Flavia Gág and Belva Norene Slate in 1966 and 2001, respectively.

Processing Information

Processed by C. Alder, August 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



A. Literary Works

1. Published Books
Chubby's First Year story and illustrations by Flavia Gág (New York: Henry Holt, 1960)
1/1Typescript page for 'May', 'June', 'July', and 'August' text, edited, with explanation of typescript notations, (2 sheets)
1/2Ink and watercolor preliminary sketches for 'January', 'February', 'May', and 'August' illustrations, (4 items)
1/3Examples of handwritten lettering, ink on Dinabase acetate, (2 items)
1/44-color color separation of 'October' illustration, ink on Dinabase acetate, with separate page explaining color separation process, (6 items)
Four Legs and a Tail story and illustrations by Flavia Gág (New York: Henry Holt, 1952)
1/5Original crayon and ink illustration for frontispiece on pebbled paper, (1 item)
The Melon Patch Mystery story and illustrations by Flavia Gág (New York: McKay, 1964)
1/6Pencil sketches of a raccoon, explanation of pencil sketches, and small preliminary ink illustrations for pp. 1, 9, 16, 61, 80, 92, and 102, (9 items)
1/7Original illustrations, ink on acetate, for pp. 20 - 21, 80, and 92, (2 items)
1/8Preliminary dust jacket design and illustrated alternate book title pages, watercolor (?) on acetate, (5 items)
Tweeter of Prairie Dog Town story and illustrations by Flavia Gág (New York: Henry Holt, 1957)
1/9Ink and pencil illustrations on pebbled paper for pp. 11, 37, 45, and 59, (6 items)
A Wish for Mimi story and illustrations by Flavia Gág (New York: Henry Holt, 1958)
1/10Original illustrations, ink on acetate strips, for pp. 31, 44, 51, 111, and 143, (3 items)
2. Unpublished Books
The ABC's of Food, by Belva Norene Slate, illustrations by Flavia Gág
1/11Book dummy, with illustrations and text for letters 'A' and 'B', with text only for letter 'C' and book cover, (1 item)
Ronald Raccoon, story by B. Norene Slate, illustrations by Flavia Gág
1/12Book dummy with printed text and marker illustrations, (14 pp.)


B. Paintings

1/13Watercolor painting of hibiscus, 1962, (1 item)
1/14Watercolor painting of hibiscus, minor damage, (1 item)
1/15 Watercolor painting of snow scene, (1 item)


C. Ephemera

1/16Photographs and clippings regarding personal appearances by Flavia Gág, n.d., ( 6 items)
1/17Photographic prints and negatives of Flavia Gág, 1974 - [ca. 1977], (16 items )
1/18Children's Book Week flyer featuring illustrations by Flavia Gág, 1974, (1 item)
1/19Newspaper tribute to Flavia Gág, photocopied from Palatka (Floria) Daily News, 20 October 1978, (1 item)
1/20Selected letters sent from Flavia Gág and Belva Slate to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, 1966 and 2001, (3 items)





The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
(601) 266-4349
Comments and Questions

This page is maintained by the de Grummond Collection.
The University of Southern Mississippi