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

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Creator: Zhenya Gay
Title: Zhenya Gay Papers
Dates: 1953 - 1966
Dates: [bulk 1953 - 1961]
Quantity: .30 cubic feet (1 box)
Identification: DG0364

Abstract: Author-illustrator Zhenya Gay is best known for her delightful illustrations of baby animals, the result of her lifetime fascination with animals and the discoveries surrounding her woodland home in the Catskill Mountain foothills. The Zhenya Gay Papers include early illustrations and a galley for four animal-themed books published between 1953 and 1961.

Biographical Note

Author-illustrator Zhenya Gay was born in Norwood, Massachusetts in 1906. After attending Columbia University, she studied with sculptor Solon Burglum and later took evening classes with artist Winold Reiss. Her earliest artistic works were free-lance movie posters, newspaper advertisements, and theatrical costume designs. Her first book illustrations were a lithograph in an essay on Thomas Hardy, and artwork for anthologies published for adult readers.

Her travels throughout Europe and America introduced Gay to many interesting people and animals. Among her primary interests was a fascination for animals, particularly baby animals. To be nearer to her subjects, Gay gave up her New York apartment in 1954 and moved to a wooded area in the Catskill Mountain foothills. There she delighted in drawing the woodland creatures of the surrounding region. Gay became convinced that writing and illustrating children's books was a more proper venue to share her discoveries and delights. Her first children's book, Pancho and His Burro, written by Jan Gay, was published in 1930. Over the next thirty-five years, Zhenya Gay wrote and/or illustrated more than forty-five books, most of them children's books with either animal or Latin American themes.

Zhenya Gay died on August 3, 1978. The Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota holds the material for many of her works.

Something About the Author, ed. Anne Commire (Detroit: Gale Research, 1980), 19:134-7.
Illustrators of Children's Books, 1946-1956, comp. Ruth Hill Viguers, et al. (Boston: Horn Book, 1958), pp. 117-8.
More Junior Authors, Ed. Muriel Fuller (New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1963), pp. 98-9.

Scope and Content Note

The Zhenya Gay Papers contain pencil illustrations and a galley for four children's books published between 1953 and 1961. The material is organized into two series: books and letter sent.

The book series contains early illustrations for selected pages from T he Dear Friends, I'm Tired of Lions, Jingle Jangle, and Wonderful Things. The illustrations are all early pencil drawings on tracing paper, and are variations of the final illustrations. One of the illustrations for The Dear Friends has also been colored with a color pencil or crayon. Also included in the series is a galley for Wonderful Things. The material is arranged alphabetically by title and chronologically within each title in the order of creation where known.

The item in the letter sent series is Gay's response to the de Grummond Collection's request for literary material. The letter has been selected and photocopied from the correspondence file of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection because it illustrates how Gay chose what material to donate.

Series and Subseries

A. Books (1953 - 1961)

The Dear Friends (1959)

I'm Tired of Lions (1961)

Jingle Jangle (1953)

Wonderful Things (1954)

B. Letter Sent (1966)


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.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Zhenya Gay 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 Zhenya Gay in 1966.

Processing Information

Processed by C. Alder, June 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




The Dear Friends story and illustrations by Zhenya Gay (New York: Harper, 1959)
1/1 Signed pencil and crayon (?) illustration, variation of cover illustration, (1 sheet)
1/2Pencil illustration, variation of p. 15, (1 sheet)
I'm Tired of Lions story and illustrations by Zhenya Gay (New York: Viking Press, 1961)
1/3Autographed pencil illustration with "ochre" color separation, variation of title page, ( 2 sheets)
Jingle Jangle story and illustrations by Zhenya Gay (New York: Viking Press, 1953)
1/4Pencil illustrations, variations of pp. 55 and 79, with small sketches of boy's head, (2 sheets)
Wonderful Things story and illustrations by Zhenya Gay (New York: Viking Press, 1954)
1/5 Unused pencil sketch of reclining foal, (1 sheet)
1/6Galley, (5 pp.)
Letter Sent
1/7Photocopy of letter sent to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, July 1966, (1 item)




The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Box 5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-4349
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