de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
1923-1972 [1937-1969]
9.60 cu.ft. (20 boxes)

Biographical Sketch | Scope & Content | Related Collections | Series & Subseries | Box Inventory


Materials received from Erick Berry and Herbert Best from 1971-1973.


Noncirculating; available for research.


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.

Biographical Sketch

Erick Berry was born Allena Champlin in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1892. She spent her childhood in Albany, New York where she attended Albany Academy for Girls. Her father was the reference librarian in the State Library of Albany and gave Berry her first interest in books. Her first art training was at the Eric Pape School in Boston. This school was run along the revolutionary lines of the Paris studios, and Berry was so influenced by Eric Pape that she later acquired the name of Erick when she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. When she married Carroll Berry, the artist, in 1916 her pseudonym became complete.

Berry completed school and tried her hand at various undertakings, including miniatures, murals, syndicated newspaper advertisements, designing of toys, Christmas cards, and department store fashions. Eventually she traveled to Paris where she studied art and later made her way down the west coast of Africa. In Nigeria she met and married her second husband, Herbert Best, who was a British government officer. Her first two books, Black Folk Tales: Retold from the Haussa of Northern Nigeria, West Africa (1928) and Girls in Africa (1928) resulted from her African adventures and enabled her to become a member of the Women Geographers. Berry and her husband began their collaboration as author-artist, with Berry illustrating all of Herbert Best's children's books and most of her own.

Berry wrote and/or illustrated close to one hundred books for children. She wrote and illustrated Winged Girl of Knossos (1933) for which she received a Newbery Honor award in 1934. She also illustrated two titles, Apprentice of Florence (1933) andGarram the Hunter, a Boy of the Hill Tribes (1930), which were Newbery Honor winners in 1934 and 1931 respectively. Berry and her husband lived for a time in the English Devonshire country, on a farm in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, in Jamaica, the British West Indies, and sometimes spent winters on the eastern shore of Oahu. In later years they made their home in Sharon, Connecticut until Berry's death in 1974 and Herbert Best's death in 1980.