Biographical Sketch | Scope & Content | Related Collections | Series & Subseries | Box Inventory
Material received from Marcia Brown in 1972, 1986, and 1993. The Little Carousel press sheets were donated by Helen Adams Masten.
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.
Marcia Brown was born July 13, 1918 in Rochester, New York. She studied at Woodstock School of Painting and received the Bachelor of Arts degree from New York College for Teachers (now State University of New York at Albany) in 1940. She also attended the New School for Social Research, Columbia University, and Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, China. Brown was a teacher of English and drama at Cornwall High (New York) from 1940 to 1943 and assistant librarian for a rare book collection at the New York Public Library from 1943 to 1948. She has also taught puppetry at University College of the West Indies, Jamaica (1953), and a workshop at the Split Rock Arts Program at the University of Minnesota (1986). There have been numerous exhibits of her woodcuts around the country.
An author and illustrator of children's books, Marcia Brown was interested in writing and painting since she was very young. As she grew older she studied English and art at various schools in this country and abroad. Study coupled with travel--to Italy, Hawaii, the West Indies and Mexico--proved invaluable in providing Brown with the experience needed to write and illustrate her own works as well as adapt traditional and exotic fairy tales and folktales.
Brown's first book, The Little Carousel, was published in 1946. It is a realistic story which grew out of a scene she witnessed from her apartment window during her early days in New York City. Since then, she has written or retold and illustrated over 25 books for children. Brown felt that every book should be unique, even when the same technique is used. Believing that a medium applied like a formula often took the life out of the subject, Brown chose the artistic technique which seemed best suited to the job at hand. Nevertheless, the woodcut was her favorite medium, the one that she felt related to traditional graphic media and most successfully combined with type on a page. Although Brown was best known as an illustrator, she was also an author and adapter of many traditional tales and folktales for children.
Brown received many prestigious honors and awards. She was runner-up for the Caldecott Medal for Stone Soup (1948), Henry, Fisherman (1950), Dick Whittington and His Cat (1951), Skipper John's Cook (1952), Puss In Boots (1953), and The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1954). She received the Caldecott Medal for Cinderella in 1955, Once a Mouse in 1962, and Shadow in 1983. She won the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion in 1972 for overall distinction in her field.
Marcia Brown passed away April 28, 2015 at the age of 96.
- Something About the Author, vol. 47, pp. 28-45.
- Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, 3rd ed., 1989, p. 139.
- Illustrators of Children's Books 1967-1976, 1978, p. 104.
Scope and Content
The collection contains photographs of Brown, programs from the 1972 University of Southern Mississippi's Children's Book Festival, original materials for 20 books published between 1947 and 1972, and one unidentified drawing. The materials in the collection cover 25 years of Brown's career and are representative of her interest in tales from other cultures as well as traditional European-based tales. The artwork demonstrates some of Brown's favorite techniques including linoleum and woodcuts.
The material for the books is arranged alphabetically by title; for each title the organization of the material reflects the probable order in which it was created. The artist appended small, blue notes to some of the illustrations in the collection. In an effort to remain consistent throughout, the descriptions in this finding aid may at times diverge from those of the creator.
Anansi, the Spider Man (1954) is a collection of Jamaican folk tales. For this title the collection has both pen and ink and watercolor illustrations. For Backbone of the King (1966), the Hawaiian story of Paka'a and his son, the collection contains partial and complete typescripts, linoleum blocks and linoleum prints. The Bun (1972) is a traditional Russian folk tale in which the central character, the bun, outsmarts all the other characters, except for the clever fox. For this title the collection includes two corrected typescripts, preliminary drawings, and two watercolor illustrations.
Brown received the Caldecott for adapting and illustrating Cinderella (1954), Charles Perrault's classic tale of the poor, mistreated girl who wins the heart of the handsome prince. For this title, the collection contains a typescript, preliminary drawings and watercolor illustrations. For Dick Whittington and His Cat (1950), Brown's retelling of the legend about a boy who became mayor of London and whose cat made him rich, the collection includes linoleum prints and a proof, printed by the artist, for the title page. Felice (1958), set in Venice, is the story of a striped cat who is befriended by a canal boatman's son and gets a name and a home. For this title the collection has watercolor illustrations and a trial sketch for the jacket. For The Flying Carpet (1956), Brown's retelling of Richard Burton's translation of The Arabian Nights, the collection includes three marker and watercolor illustrations. For Giselle (1970), Brown's rendition of the ballet about a young peasant girl who falls in love, the collection has preliminary drawings, a typescript, and proofs. For Henry, Fisherman: A Story of the Virgin Islands (1949), the collection contains a manuscript, preliminary drawings, and gouache and graphite illustrations.
How, Hippo! (1969) is the story of Little Hippo's frightening experience with a crocodile the first time he is separated from his mother. The collection has a manuscript, a preliminary drawing, the woodblock for the endpapers, and color woodblock prints for this book. The Little Carousel (1946), Marcia Brown's first book, is the story of a boy named Anthony and the treat he gets when a carousel visits his street. For this title the collection includes a rough dummy and press sheets. The Neighbors (1967) is about the conflict that ensues when the fox takes over the hare's home. In the collection for this title are a manuscript, illustrations and proofs. Brown won the Caldecott for retelling and illustrating Once a Mouse (1961), the story of a mouse who becomes a cat, a dog, and a tiger only to be turned back into a mouse again because of excessive vanity. There are a woodblock, a dummy and wood block prints for this title, as well as a Newbery-Caldecott souvenir scarf. For Peter Piper's Alphabet (1959) the collection has illustrations and a dust jacket. Puss In Boots (1952) is the tale of a sly cat who wins for his master the lordship of a manor and the hand of a princess. For this title the collection contains an edited typescript, illustrations, color proofs and a woodblock print. For Skipper John's Cook (1951), the tale of how a boy named Si changed the crew's all-bean diet, there is a typescript, a dummy and an illustration.
The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1953) is Hans Christian Andersen's tale of a toy soldier who falls in love with a paper ballerina. For this title the collection includes Marcia Brown's preliminary drawings and illustrations, as well as a monotype print and a printer's proof. Stone Soup (1947) tells of three soldiers who feed a whole town on soup made of stones and water. This title includes a dummy of the 1960 French version entitled Une Drole de Soupe. It also includes preliminary drawings and one final watercolor illustration. For Tamarindo! (1960), the story of four boys who set out to find a lost donkey, there are a manuscript, two typescripts, a dummy, cut press sheets and a dust jacket. For The Wild Swans (1963), another Hans Christian Andersen classic, there are preliminary drawings, one watercolor illustration and proofs. The collection also contains one unidentified drawing.
Helen Adams Masten Papers (DG0677). Ms. Masten was a librarian in the children's reading room of the New York Public Library and a close friend of Marcia Brown.
Series and Subseries
A. Photographs and Programs (1972 and undated)
B. Books (1946-1977)
C. Other Publications
D. Unidentified Illustration
A. Photographs and Programs
1/1 Photographs of Brown, 1972 and undated, 5 items. Programs, University of Southern Mississippi Children's Book Festival, 1972, 2 items.
ALL BUTTERFLIES by Marcia Brown (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974) Press sheet. [oversize, stored separately] ANANSI, THE SPIDER MAN: JAMAICAN FOLK TALES told by Philip Sherlock, illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Crowell, 1956). 1/2 Sketch, graphite, facing title page. Illustrations, pen and ink, pp. 50, 58, 69, 73, 75 and 3 unpublished items. Illustrations, watercolor, dust jacket, 2 items. BACKBONE OF THE KING by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1966). 1/3 Typescript, corrected, chapters 8 and 9, pp. 50-79. 1/4 Typescript, corrected, front matter and chapters 1-9, pp. 1-66. 1/5 Typescript, corrected, chapters 10-20, pp. 67-130. 1/6 Linoleum blocks, pp. 9 and 56, alternates pp. 28 and 48. [stored in Box 4, folder 1] Linoleum prints for back cover (94), endpapers (8), title page (2), pp. 7 (9) and 2 variants, 9 (10), 11 (19), 13 (14); 1/7 pp. 16-17 (12), 20 (11), 25 (9) and 2 variants, 28 (1), 30- 31 (3), 35 (12) and 10 variants, 39 (3), 40 (13), 44 (6), 46 (6), 48 (18), 50 (3), 53 (8) and 5 variants; 1/8 pp. 56 (27), 60-61 (10), 66 (3), 71 (1) and 4 variants, 75 (4) and 1 variant, 79 (2), 81 (2), 85 (3), 86 (6), 88 (3), 91 (2), 94 (12) and 3 variants, 98 (2), 1/9 pp. 100 (2), 103 (2), 104 (2), 108 (9) and 8 variants, 111 (2), 116 (1) and 8 variants, 120 (1), 123 (8), 124 (7), 126 (2), 129 (3), 133 (2) and 1 variant, 136 (4) and 1 variant, 138 (4), 141 (2), 146 (2 ), 148 (2), 151 (3), 154 (1), 157 (2) and 3 variants, 158 (3), 161 (2), 162-63 (3). illustrations not used (23). THE BLUE JACKAL by Marcia Brown (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1977). 2/1 Sketches, 20 pp. 2/2 Linoleum prints, proofs, for dust jacket, end papers, pp. 6- 7, 8-9 (7), 12-13, 14-15, 16-17 (3), 22-23, 24-25, 28-29, 30-31. Press sheets. [oversize, stored separately] THE BUN: A TALE FROM RUSSIA by Marcia Brown (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1972). 2/3 Typescript, corrected, pp. 1-4. Typescript, corrected, title page and pp. 1-5. Sketches, marker, pp. 4-5, 18-19, 27-28, 3 unnumbered, and cover. Illustration, marker, pp. 6 and 10. CINDERELLA by Charles Perault, illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1954). 2/4 Sketches, ink and watercolor, pp. 6, 7, 16-17, 21. Typescript, marked for typesetter, pp. 1-12. 2/5 Illustrations, ink and watercolor, pp. 9, 24-25, 27, 32. DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1950). 2/6 Linoleum prints, pp. 6, 9, 12, 16-17, 23, 25, 28, 29, and dust jacket. Proof, printed by artist, title page. Press sheets. [oversize, stored separately] FELICE by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1958). 2/7 Illustrations, ink and watercolor, frontispiece, and pp. 3, 8-9, 24-25, 26, 30-31; trial sketch for jacket. Dust jacket. THE FLYING CARPET retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1956). 2/8 Illustrations, marker and watercolor, pp. 5, 12-13, 18-19. GISELLE by Violette Verdy, illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970). 2/9 Sketches, graphite, pen and ink, 3 items. Typescript, marked for typesetter, pp. 1-14. Proofs, pp. 48-49, 51. HENRY, FISHERMAN: A STORY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribners, 1949). 2/10 Manuscript, 18 pp. Sketch, colored pencil. Illustrations, gouache and graphite, pp. 5 and 17. Press sheet. [oversize, stored separately] HOW, HIPPO! by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1969). 2/11 Manuscript, 3 pp. Sketch, marker, endpapers. Photograph of trial block for endpapers. Woodblock, endpapers. [stored in Box 4, folder 2] 2/12 Woodblock prints, pp. 5, 8-9, 10-11, 24-25, 32. Proofs, dust jacket, pp. 24-25. THE LITTLE CAROUSEL by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1946). 2/13 Dummy with graphite text and sketches in spiral notebook. Press sheets, 2 items. [stored separately] THE NEIGHBORS by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1967). 2/14 Manuscript, 8 pp. Illustrations, ink and watercolor, 12-13, 16-17, 28-29, and dust jacket. Proofs, title page, pp. 1-5, and dust jacket copy. Press sheets. [oversize, stored separately] ONCE A MOUSE retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1961). 2/15 Dummy with text, graphite. Woodblock, pp. 16-17. [stored in Box 4, folder 3] 2/16 Woodblock prints, pp. 1, 4-5, 11, 16-17, 22-23. Fabric, Newbery-Caldecott souvenir, 1962. [stored separately] PETER PIPER'S ALPHABET illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1959). 2/17 Illustrations, ink and watercolor, with text paste-ups, pp. 4, 5, 24, 25. Dust jacket. PUSS IN BOOTS retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1952). 3/1 Typescript, edited, pp. 1-8. [p. 3 missing] Illustrations, crayon, ink and watercolor, frontispiece, title page and pp. 8-9, 10-11, 24-25. Color proofs, dust jacket, 2 items. Woodlock print, 2 colors, unpublished. 3/2 Storytelling posters, 7. SKIPPER JOHN'S COOK by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1951). 3/3 Typescript, corrected, pp. 1-5. Dummy with text, ink and watercolor. Illustration with text paste-up, colored pencil and watercolor, pp. 26-27. THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by M.R. James, illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1953). 3/4 Preliminary drawings, pen and ink, pp. 9, 12-13. Illustrations, ink, opaque watercolor, dust jacket, pp. 12-13, 16-17, 22-23, 30-31. Monotype print, oil, p. 1. Printer's proof, p. 1. STONE SOUP retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1947) /UNE DROLE DE SOUPE raconte et illustre‚ par Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1960). 3/5 Sketches, ink, crayon and watercolor, pp. 8-9, 12. Illustration, ink and watercolors, p. 7. Dummy, graphite, with French text. TAMARINDO! by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1960). 3/6 Manuscript, 10 pp / Typescript, 7 pp. Typescript, corrected, pp. 1-9. 3/7 Dummy with text paste-ups, graphite. 3/8 Cut press sheets and dust jacket. THE WILD SWANS by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by M. R. James, illustrated by Marcia Brown (New York: Scribner, 1963). 3/9 Sketches, graphite, ink and watercolor, 18-19, 28, 30-31, 32-33, 45, 46-47, 72, 76-77 and dust jacket. Illustration, ink and transparent watercolor, pp. 76-77. Proofs, title page and p. 52.
"Hawaiian Legend" for World Book Encyclopedia, 1967? 3/10 Sketch, pencil; Illustration, rough, color, (2). 3/11 Linoleum blocks, (2). Block prints for greeting cards and illustrations.
D. Unidentified Illustration
Processed: May 1991
Revised: June 7, 2001; May 2015
Biographical Sketch| Scope & Content| Related Collections| Series & Subseries| Box Inventory
[Return to top]
The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
Comments and Questions
This page is maintained by the de Grummond
The University of Southern Mississippi