de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
2.85 cu.ft. (3 boxes)

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


Materials donated by Taro Yashima between 1969 and 1974.


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

Jun Atsushi Iwamatsu (Taro Yashima) was born on September 21, 1908 in Kago- shima, Japan. He grew up in a small village on the southern edge of Kyushu Island, where his father maintained a practice as a country doctor. Yashima's father, a collector of oriental art, encouraged his son's artistic bent.

Upon graduating high school Yashima studied at the Imperial Art Academy in Tokyo for three years. He became successful as an illustrator and cartoonist in his native country, but his opposition to the militaristic government of Japan finally resulted in prison sentences for both Yashima and his wife Tomoe, who was also an artist. In 1939 the couple visited the United States to study the Western masters' works in art museums, while their young son Mako was left in Japan with his grandparents. The Yashimas studied at the Art Students' League in New York City from 1939 to 1941. When war was declared on Japan, Yashima enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Office of War Information and in the Office of Strategic Services. It was at this time he adopted the alias "Taro Yashima" in order to protect relatives -- particularly his young son -- who were still in Japan. His wife also adopted a pseudonym and became known as Mitsu Yashima. After the war, Congress enacted a bill that granted Yashima and his family permanent residence in the United States. Yashima then returned to Japan and located his son, whom he had not seen in ten years, and brought him back to New York.

The reunion with their son roughly coincided with the birth of the Yashimas' second child, their daughter Momo. By this time Yashima was seriously ill with stomach ulcers and nearly four years passed before he regained his health. During this long period of illness Momo's love and sympathy were a great comfort to Yashima. He wanted to thank his little girl by telling her stories to make her happy, and he did this by telling her of his own happy childhood experiences in Japan. Out of these memories of childhood came Yashima's first book for children, The Village Tree (1953). Plenty to Watch (1954), co-written with Mitsu Yashima, is also based on childhood memories of Japan. Momo herself appears in three of Yashima's books.

In 1954 Yashima moved his family from New York to California, where he painted and taught. In Los Angeles the Yashimas opened an art school, the Yashima Art Institute. Yashima's children both became actors, while their parents con- tinued to paint, write, and teach. In 1982 the Yashimas still resided in Los Angeles.

Yashima's colorful illustrations and simple, delicate prose have won for him many awards. His books Crow Boy (1956), Umbrella (1958), and Seashore Story (1967) were all Caldecott Honor Books. Mr. Yashima has twice been awarded the Southern California Council on Literature of Children and Young People Award, and in 1974 he was chosen as the recipient of the University of Southern Mississippi's Silver Medallion. Yashima's works are held in many public and private collections and he has held several one-man shows in cities across the United States. The self-stated theme of his books for children is this: "Let children enjoy living on this earth, let children be strong enough not to be beaten or twisted by evil on this earth."


Scope and Content

The collection has been arranged into five series made up of personal mate- rials, correspondence, book materials, an article written by Yashima, and miscellaneous items. Personal materials include fifteen photographs of Mr. Yashima, the majority of which were taken at the 1969 and 1974 Children's Book Festivals held on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. Included with the personal materials is Yashima's original design for the 1974 University of Southern Mississippi Silver Medallion, which incorpated elements from Yashima's three Caldecott honor books: Crow Boy, Umbrella and Seashore Story. The correspondence is arranged in chronological order and consists of thirteen photocopied letters sent to the de Grummond Collection from Yashima. Also included in the correspondence is an original notecard featuring an illustration by Yashima, addressed to Mae L. Merriman and signed by the artist. Book materials have been arranged alphabetically by title and within each title according to the order in which they were probably created.

Eleven of Yashima's books are represented by original materials in the collec- tion. Of these, seven were also written, co-written, or adapted by him. Crow Boy (1955) tells of a young boy who endures years of persecution by his school mates because he is different, yet has a talent all his own which finally wins him popularity. For this title the collection holds a number of dummy pages featuring original artwork. The Fisherman and the Goblet (1971), a Vietnamese folk tale retold by Mark Taylor and illustrated by Yashima, is the sad story of a mandarin's daughter who forgets that the unconditional love a poor fish- erman offers her is more important than his ugly face. This title is repre- sented by dummy pages, color separations, and filmed color separations. There are numerous sketches and one set of color separations for The Golden Footprints (1960), which tells how two foxes save the life of a boy who freed their captive cub. This book was translated and adapted by Yashima from the original Japanese story, which was written by a friend of Yashima's. Momo's Kitten (1961) is one of several books which feature Yashima's daughter as a character; this one tells how little Momo adopted her first pet. For this title there are two sketches, several dummy pages and color separations, and a blueprint of the book.

Plenty to Watch (1954) was Yashima's second book for children. Co-written with his wife Mitsu, it was based on the Yashimas' memories of their childhood in Japan. The book relates the many interesting sights and sounds Japanese village schoolchildren of long ago could encounter on their way home from school. For this title the collection holds dummy illustrations for the endpapers of the book. In Seashore Story (1967) a group of Japanese school- children hear the tale of a fisherman who rode a turtle's back to an undersea kingdom and spent many years there. Included in the materials for this title are two sketches and a miniature promotional copy of the book. In Soo Ling Finds a Way (1965) a little girl's ingenuity saves her grandfather's laundry business when a new laundromat across the street threatens the family's live- lihood. For this title the collection holds three sketches, color separa- tions, and a blueprint.

For The Sugar Pear Tree (1953), about a little boy who wins a tree as a prize but has nowhere to plant it, there is one original illustration. The Village Tree (1953) was Yashima's first book for children. Originally written for his daughter Momo, it relates the author's memories of a certain tree he and other people of his village played in when they were children. For Which Was Witch? (1959), a collection of Korean folk tales illustrated by Yashima, there are six original illustrations and a sketch/color sample of the endpapers. Youngest One (1962) also stars Momo as a character. This time Momo, no longer a little girl, makes friends with a two-year-old neighbor boy. For this title the collection has a partial proof sheet.

The original Japanese manuscript of "What Is a Juvenile Picture Book?" is also held in the collection. This article was published in the Japanese magazine Hiroba. There are also two sketches; one of these was painted by Yashima at the 1969 Children's Book Festival, while the other is an undated and unidentified pencil and wash study of an oriental temple. There are also two boxes of notecards which feature the Yashima illustrations "Umbrella" and "Girl Watching." One card in each box has been signed and dated by the artist.

Related Collection

The Helen Masten Papers (DG0677) contain two items of correspondence from Taro Yashima and his family, dated 1960. A catalog of Yashima's 1970 Tokyo art exhibit, which contains photographs of original art for several of his books, is presently held with the uncataloged publications. Also uncataloged at this time is a copy of Hiroba magazine (# 58) which contains Yashima's article "What is a Juvenile Picture Book?"

Series and Subseries

A. Personal Material ([ca. 1968]-1974, undated)

B. Correspondence (1964-1974)

C. Books (1953-1971)

D. Articles [ca. 1973?]

E. Miscellaneous (1969, undated)

Box Inventory


A. Personal Material

1/1 Photographs of Yashima, [ca. 1968?], 1969, 1973, 1974, 15 items. Design for University of Southern Mississippi Silver Medallion, collage and marker, [ca. 1974].

B. Correspondence

1/2 To the de Grummond Collection, 1968-1974, 13 items. Notecard from Yashima to Mae L. Merriman, 23 October 1964.

C. Books

CROW BOY by Taro Yashima (New York: Viking, 1955). 1/3 Dummy pages, pp. 2, 3 (title page), 12/13, 14/15, 18/19, 26/27, 30/31, 36/37, endpapers, dust jacket. THE FISHERMAN AND THE GOBLET by Mark Taylor, pictures by Taro Yashima (San Carlos, CA: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1971). 1/4 Dummy pages, title page, pp. 2/3, 4/5, 8/9, 10/11, 22/23, 28/29. 1/5 Color separations, title page, 4/5, 8/9, 10/11, 22/23, 28/29. 1/6 Filmed color separations, title page, pp. 22/23. THE GOLDEN FOOTPRINTS by Taro Yashima and Hatoju Muku, illustrated by Taro Yashima (Cleveland: World Publishing Company, 1960). 1/7 Sketches of foxes, charcoal and pastel, 8 items. 1/8 Sketches, ink, graphite, charcoal and crayon, 7 items. 1/9 Color separations, endpapers. MOMO'S KITTEN by Mitsu and Taro Yashima (New York: Viking, 1961). 1/10 Sketch of skunk, charcoal. Sketch of handbag, charcoal and pastel. 1/11 Dummy pages, pp. 4/5, 6/7, 8/9, 14/15. 1/12 Color separations, black plates only, pp. 4/5, 6/7, 8/9, 14/15. 1/13 Blueprint with text paste-ups. PLENTY TO WATCH by Mitsu and Taro Yashima (New York: Viking, 1954). 2/1 Dummy pages, oil pastel, endpapers. SEASHORE STORY by Taro Yashima (New York: Viking, 1967). 2/2 Sketch of sea creatures, ink. Sketch of sea shells, graphite and watercolor. Miniature promotional copy of book. SOO LING FINDS A WAY by June Behrens, pictures by Taro Yashima (San Carlos, CA: Golden Gate Junior Books, 1965). 2/3 Sketch of girl with hat, crayon. Sketch of girl with flower in hair, graphite and watercolor. Sketch of man ironing, graphite and crayon. 2/4 Color separations, title page, pp. 10/11, 12/13, 14/15, 18/19, 24/25, 28/29. Blueprint. THE SUGAR PEAR TREE by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Taro Yashima (New York: Crowell, 1960). 2/5 Illustration, ink and watercolor, p. [55]. THE VILLAGE TREE by Taro Yashima (New York: Viking, 1953). 2/6 Sketch, "design study," oil pastel, pp. 28/29. 2/7 Dummy pages, pp. [4/5], 34/[35]. WHICH WAS WITCH? by Eleanore M. Jewett, illustrated by Taro Yashima (New York: Viking, 1959). 2/8 Illustrations, ink, pp. 16, 29, 65, 95, 109, endpapers. 2/9 Sketch/color sample, opaque watercolor and graphite, endpapers. YOUNGEST ONE by Taro Yashima (New York: Viking, 1962). 2/10 Partial proof sheet. [stored separately]

D. Articles

2/11 Manuscript, in Japanese, "What is a Juvenile Picture Book" (# 8), for Hiroba magazine by Shiko-Sha, Tokyo, Japan, [ca. 1973?], 19 pp.

E. Miscellaneous

2/12 Sketch painted by Yashima during a demonstration on book illustration at the Children's Book Festival, watercolor, [18 March] 1969. [stored separately] Sketch of temple, pencil and wash, undated. 3/1 Boxed "Umbrella" notecards, 7 items, one card signed by Yashima and dated 18 March 1969. 3/2 Boxed "Girl Watching" notecards, 9 items, one card signed by Yashima and dated 18 March 1969.

Processed: February 1992
Revised: July 2001

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

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