de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
5.80 cu.ft. (12 boxes)

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


Materials contributed by Leonard Everett Fisher from 1966 to 1981.


Non-circulating; available for research.


This 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

Leonard Everett Fisher was born June 24, 1924 in Bronx, New York. As a child he attended art classes, absorbed the wealth of New York's art museums and had his drawings exhibited alongside those of older students. During World War II, he served as a topographic specialist with the Operations Section of the 30th Topographic Engineers, a unit attached at home and abroad to the staff of the US Army's chief-of-staff, General George C. Marshall. In that role, Fisher participated in the mapping of most of the major invasions and campaigns in Europe and the Pacific. After receiving the B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees from Yale University in 1949 and 1950, he toured Europe on two traveling fellowships, then became dean of the Whitney School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut (1950-53). Fisher married Margery Meskin in 1951 and the couple eventually had three children: Julie Anne, Susan Abby and James Albert.

In 1954 Fisher illustrated his first children's book, The Exploits of Xenophon. After working with a variety of publishers from 1954-61, he became author as well as illustrator, beginning a long career as creator of literature for children. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Fisher worked on several important educational series, including: the six-volume Our Reading Heritage for Holt; the multilevel, eight-volume kit, The Reading Laboratory, for Science Research Associates; and the two-volume kit, The Literature Sampler, published by Learning Materials, Inc.

From 1964 to 1983 Fisher wrote and illustrated two series of children's books on American history, a favorite subject of his. These were The Colonial Americans series, which included nineteen volumes published from 1964 to 1976 by Franklin Watts, and the Nineteenth Century America series, which involved seven volumes published from 1979 to 1983 with Holiday House.

Other notable books for younger readers describing and illustrating the American experience, as well as the hazards faced by immigrants trying to become part of it, include America Is Born (Morrow, 1959), America Grows Up (Morrow, 1960), The Supreme Court (Morrow, 1962), The Story of Science in America (Scribner'1967), The Death of Evening Star (Doubleday, 1972), Across the Sea from Galway (Four Winds, 1975), and A Russian Farewell (Four Winds, 1980).

Not merely confined to American historical subjects, however, Fisher has written and designed a wide range of books on subjects including world history, the sciences, mathematics, archaeology and ecology. Representative of these are Sound and Ultrasonics (Knopf, 1959), Great Archaeologists (Crowell, 1962), Archimedes (Macmillan, 1965), Why the Earth Quakes (Holiday House, 1969), The Journey of the Gray Whales (Holiday House, 1974), Star Signs (Holiday House, 1983) and Earth Songs (Holiday House, 1986). He has also illustrated for Cricket and Ladybug magzines and illustrated audio-visual filmstrips based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

In addition to his exhaustive career as author and illustrator, Fisher has also held numerous exhibitions of his own paintings, including a fifty-year retrospective at the University of Connecticut; produced public murals, such as one for the Washington Monument; and designed postage stamps for the United States Postal Service. Always an educator since the Whitney School of Art experience, he has been a teacher or administrator in several institutions, most notably the Paier College of Art (faculty member 1966-78; academic dean 1978-82; dean emeritus since 1982) but also at Case Western Reserve University, Silvermine School of the Arts and Fairfield University. Over the past twenty years he has been popular as a lecturer and speaker at art institutes, academic seminars, education workshops and children's book programs nationwide.

Examples of Fisher's many awards and honors are the Ten Best Illustrated Books award of the New York Times in 1964 for Casey at Bat; the Graphics Prize of the Fifth International Book Fair in Bologna, Italy in 1968; the Christopher Medal (8-12 nonfiction) for illustration in 1981 for All Times, All Peoples: A World History of Slavery by Milton Meltzer;, the Children's Book Guild/Washington Post Nonfiction Award (1979) and the Kerlan Award, University of Minnesota (1991). He has illustrated two Newbery honor books by Gerald W. Johnson: America is Born: A History for Peter in 1960 and America Moves Forward: A History for Peter in 1961. In 1979 he received the University of Southern Mississippi Silver Medallion.

Still living in Westport, Connecticut, as he has for decades, and having recently published The ABC Exhibit, Sailboat Lost and Cyclops in 1991, Fisher reiterates that one can always expect "more of the same" from his pen and brush and feels that "what seems to have been fundamental to me all of my life is a hunger to express the inexpressible, to make visible the invisible."