de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
.40 cu.ft. (1 box)

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


Jack and the Bean-stalk illustrations acquired in 1970; provenance of other material is unknown.


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

Born in Philadelphia in 1856, William Wallace Denslow and his family soon moved to Manhattan. In the early 1870s, Denslow studied art in New York City at the Cooper Union Institute and the National Academy of Design. Before he turned twenty, however, his family was no longer able to support him, so he became an office boy for the Orange Judd Company, which published several magazines. For the next few years, he took odd jobs in order to survive--he painted ads on barns, illustrated county atlases, drew prints of local landmarks, and lectured on art history. In 1882 he married his first wife, Annie McCartney and opened a studio in New York where he drew magazine illustrations and designed theater costumes.

In 1884, Denslow separated from his wife and moved to Chicago where he worked for the Chicago Herald and illustrated books, including Dollars and Sense by P. T. Barnum. After a brief stint in Colorado, Denslow moved to San Francisco where his style was influenced by the Japanese Tokumgawa (or Floating World) print, which was then an international fad. In 1893, Denslow returned to Chicago where he quickly became one of the most important Midwestern illustrators of the day. In 1886, he married Ann Waters Holden. He also met and began working with L. Frank Baum at this time. In 1899 Denslow and Baum collaborated on their first book, which was an instant success. In 1900, Denslow illustrated Baum's soon-to-be-famous The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Subsequently, Denslow and Baum collaborated on a stage version of the Wizard and another book. Soon after, however, personal differences drove them to seek other partners. Divorced from his second wife during this period, Denslow married Frances Golsen Doolittle on Christmas Eve, 1903. For the next seven years, he continued illustrating books such as Denslow's Mother Goose and Denslow's Night Before Christmas, but by 1910 he had fallen on bad times and had to take a job with a small salary at a New York art agency. He occasionally sold poems and sketches to a children's magazine during the years before his death in 1915.

Denslow is credited with being the first American to create picture books in the aesthetic tradition of English illustrators Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott, and the first to combine color with a sense of design. During his lifetime, Denslow wrote and illustrated four books, one of which was a series of 18 booklets called Denslow's Picture Books. He also wrote and illustrated a series of newspaper stories and illustrated six works by other authors. His trademark was a Japanese-inspired, stylized seahorse monogram that he appended to his work. This monogram earned Denslow the nickname "Hippocampus Den." In 1968, The Wizard of Oz won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.


Various undetermined sources.

Scope and Content

The collection contains drawings from three books by Denslow published between 1900 and 1904, each of which includes his famous seahorse trademark. These drawings are grouped alphabetically by title and for each title, the illustrations are arranged as they appear in the published work.

There are six mounted original pen and ink drawings from Denslow's 1903 picture book, Jack and the Bean-stalk. Also included in the collection is a printer's proof of a pen and ink drawing from Denslow's Scarecrow and the Tin-man and Other Stories (1904), one of eighteen pamphlets that were part of the Denslow's Picture Book series. The collection contains two mounted pen and ink drawings from Little Red Riding Hood (1903).


Box Inventory


DENSLOW'S LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD adapted and illustrated by W. W. Denslow (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1903). 1/1 Illustration, ink, mounted, of Red Riding Hood and wolf in the forest. 1/2 Illustration, ink, mounted, of Red Riding Hood and wolf as Grandmother. DENSLOW'S SCARECROW AND THE TIN-MAN AND OTHER STORIES written and illustrated by W. W. Denslow (Chicago: M. A. Donohue, 1904). 1/3 Proof, cloth cover. JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK adapted and illustrated by W. W. Denslow (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1903). 1/4 Illustration, ink, mounted, pictorial banner-head and lower vignette, p. 1. 1/5 Illustration, ink, mounted, tailpiece on p. 2. 1/6 Illustration, ink, mounted, headpiece on p. 6. 1/7 Illustration, ink, mounted, 3/4-page design, p. 10. 1/8 Illustration, ink, mounted, upper tailpiece on inside back cover. 1/9 Illustration, ink, mounted, lower tailpiece on inner back cover.

Processed: April 1991
Revised: March 19, 1996

Biographical Sketch| Scope & amp; Content| Related Collections| Series & Subseries| Box Inventory
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The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
(601) 266-4349
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