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

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Creator: Schoenherr, John
Title: John Schoenherr Papers
Dates: 1965 - 1978
Quantity: .60 cubic feet (1 box)
Identification: DG0864

Abstract: John Schoenherr is an award-winning illustrator of more than forty children's books, most of which sentimentally depict animals in the wilderness. His work is featured in children's classics such as Julie of the Wolves, Rascal, and Owl Moon, for which he won the Caldecott Award. The John Schoenherr Papers contain sketches and illustrations for two books, Mississippi Possum (1965) and Storm Boy (1978).

Biographical Note

Renowned naturalist-writer-illustrator John Schoenherr was born in New York City in 1935, the German-speaking son of German and Hungarian parents. In a neighborhood where his playmates spoke Chinese and Italian, drawing became his best form of communication. As his artistic interest grew, Schoenherr made his first oil painting at age eight, and at thirteen was taking Saturday classes at the Art Students League in New York. After graduating Styvesant High School he studied at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, returning to the Art Students League in his free summers.

By age twenty-one, Schoenherr had attained recognition as a science fiction illustrator. He eventually produced hundreds of science fiction book covers, most notably for science fiction magazines and Frank Herbert's Dune. In the early 1960s Schoenherr, his wife Judy, and their daughter Jennifer (later to be joined by brother Ian) moved to a twenty-four acre farm in rural New Jersey. The surrounding woods, meadows, and animals gave Schoenherr an endless source of inspiration for his art. He has illustrated more than forty children's books, all prized for their sensitive treatment of animals and nature. In recent years Schoenherr has also created easel paintings that are featured in art galleries nationwide.

Major Authors and Illustrators, pp. 2036 - 9

Scope and Content Note

The John Schoenherr Papers contain illustrations and a book dummy created by John Schoenherr between 1965 and 1978. The material is contained in a single series for books.

The material in the books series contains illustrations from two books. Mississippi Possum (1965) offers examples of early Schoenherr illustrations. The story concerns a fearful young possum who flees when the Mississippi River overflows. The material includes layout sheets with early versions of watercolor illustrations and one final watercolor illustration, signed by the illustrator. The series also includes a book dummy for the American edition of Storm Boy (1978), by Colin Thiele. The dummy contains early pencil sketches by Schoenherr. The material is arranged alphabetically by title and the material for each book is arranged chronologically in order of creation where known.

Series and Subseries

A. Books (1965 - 1978)

Mississippi Possum (1965)

Storm Boy (1963; 1st American edition 1978)


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

For manuscript materials related to Mississippi Possum, see the Patricia Miles Martin Papers (DG0672). For manuscript materials related to Storm Boy, see the Colin Thiele Papers (DG0976).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

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


The materials were separated from the Patricia Miles Martin (DG0672) and Colin Thiele Papers (DG0976).

Processing Information

Processed by C. Alder, February 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




Mississippi Possum by Miska Miles [Patricia Miles Martin], illustrations by John Schoenherr (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1965)
1/1Layout, with early original watercolor illustrations: front matter and (pp. 2 - 15, 18 - 19, 22 - 23, 26 - 32, 36 - 42 )
1/2 Original final illustration for p. 6, signed "To Patricia Martin from John Schoenherr," with color separation on tracing paper.
Storm Boy by Colin Thiele, illustration by John Schoenherr, 1st American edition (New York: Harper & Row, 1978)
1/3Book dummy, with original rough pencil sketches, (53 pp.)





The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

The University of Southern Mississippi
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