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ROBERT LAWSON PAPERS

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


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Creator: Robert Lawson
Title: Robert Lawson Papers
Dates: ca. 1916-1920
Quantity: 1.25 cubic feet (1 map drawer)
Identification: DG0598

Abstract: The Robert Lawson Papers contain a photocopy of a typescript and two illustrations created by Robert Lawson between around 1916 and 1920. Lawson's papers were created from his drawing of an illustration for The Delineator magazine and from his composition of a short story, "The Silver Leopard." Well known for his stories about animals, Lawson is the only individual to receive both the Caldecott and Newbery Medals.

Biographical Note

Robert Lawson was born in New York City on October 4, 1892. Encouraged by his mother to appreciate books and the visual arts, he attended the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts in the early 1910s. He worked as a freelance illustrator in New York City between 1914 and 1917 and served in the army as a camouflage designer during World War I. Lawson returned to commercial art upon his discharge in 1919 and married fellow illustrator Marie Abrams in 1922.

Although Lawson had illustrated several children's books as early as 1922, he gained his first widespread acclaim for his illustrations for Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand in 1936. Bolstered by his new success, he illustrated well over a dozen other children's books over the next three years. In 1939 Lawson produced his first work as author-illustrator. Ben and Me told the story of Amos, Benjamin Franklin's pet mouse, who contributed to his master's accomplishments. A great favorite among children, it became the first of four books featuring the covertly influential pets of famous historical figures. These titles are among the many animal fables for which Lawson is so well known.

Robert Lawson received the Caldecott Medal in 1941 for They Were Strong and Good, a picture book biography of his parents and grandparents. It was representative of Lawson's works that celebrated mid-twentieth-century American values and ideals. He won the Newbery Medal in 1945 for Rabbit Hill, a fantasy about several lovable yet troublesome animals that undermine a garden. Lawson is the only individual to receive both awards. He died of a heart attack in Westport, Connecticut, on May 26, 1957.

Sources:
Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, ed. Laurie Collier and Joyce Nakamura (Detroit: Gale Research, 1993): 4:1414-1417.
Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, ed. Laura Standley Berger, 4th ed. (Detroit: St. James Press, 1995), 556-557.


Scope and Content Note

The Robert Lawson Papers contain a photocopy of a typescript and two illustrations created by Robert Lawson between around 1916 and 1920. Lawson's papers were created from his drawing of an illustration for The Delineator magazine and from his composition of a short story, "The Silver Leopard." The material is organized into two series: an illustration for The Delineator and "The Silver Leopard."

Lawson's illustration for The Delineator magazine is a finely-detailed drawing of three female knights, a castle, and a dragon. Lawson probably drew it to accompany a short story in this popular women's periodical, although which one is not known. A label on the reverse of the drawing is dated 4 October 1920.

"The Silver Leopard" is a pseudo-medieval fantasy short story that was published posthumously in Spaceships & Spells: A collection of new fantasy and science-fiction stories in 1987. A photocopy of the typescript was made from the original in the Free Library of Philadelphia. A painting, which Lawson probably intended to accompany the story if published in a periodical, features Marik the hunter, the silver leopard, the title of the story, and the name of the author. The painting, which bears an address in Montclair, New Jersey, on the reverse, was drawn on a type of board patented in 1916.


Series and Subseries

A. Illustration for The Delineator (1920)
B. "The Silver Leopard" in Spaceships & Spells: A collection of new fantasy and science-fiction stories (1987)


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.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Robert Lawson Papers, de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries, (Cite the item's box/folder numbers).

Provenance

The provenance of the illustrations is unknown. The photocopy of the typescript for "The Silver Leopard" was provided by the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1982.

Processing Information

Processed by Hans Rasmussen, March 2003. 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. Illustration

Drawer 3-E/1 Illustration of female knights for The Delineator magazine, October 1920, (1 item )



.

B. Short Story

 

"The Silver Leopard" by Robert Lawson, in Spaceships & Spells: A collection of new fantasy and science-fiction stories, edited by Jane Yolen, Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 41-46.

Drawer 3-E/2

Photocopy of lightly edited typescript for pp. 41-46, (6 pp.)
Drawer 3-E/3 Painting of Marik the hunter and the silver leopard, [ca. 1916], (1 item )



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