de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
1.5 cu.ft. (2 boxes)

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


Donated by Joseph Low in 1968 and 1972.


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

Born in Coraopolis, PA in 1911, Joseph Low grew up in Chicago and eventually attended the Chicago Art Institute. He attended the University of Illinois from 1930 to 1932 and began his art career in 1933 by typesetting and printing his own work. In 1937, Low moved to New York to attend the Art Students League where he met Ruth Hull, whom he married in 1940. Low worked as a freelance designer for publishers and advertising agencies in New York City beginning in 1941. His long career of illustrating magazine covers for The New Yorker began in 1940 and continued until 1980. Low also worked as an instructor of graphic art and design at Indiana University-Bloomington from 1942 to 1945, contributing to the creation of the University's Corydon Press. In 1952 he collaborated with his wife to write and illustrate The Mother Goose Riddle Rhymes. For the next decade Low continued his work in several of New York's advertising agencies and in 1959 founded Eden Hill Press. As proprietor of Eden Hill, Low published his own material and continued to publish and illustrate his own books, book jackets, as well as records and magazine covers.

Low insisted his own style developed from a reaction against, and in spite of, the academic training he received. Dissatisfied with his training, he initiated a personal investigation of the past's artistic voices which finally -- as he described it-- led him to a visual language that struck a chord within him. His work as an author/illustrator won recognition from the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune's Spring Book Festival. His Mice Twice was named as a Caldecott honor book in 1981. Low's work has been shown in museums and collections throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. Some of his work has also been permanently included in collections at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Library of Congress, and Princeton University.

Ruth Hull Low passed away in 2006, and Joseph followed on February 12, 2007 at the age of 95.


Scope and Content

The Low Papers contain correspondence between Joseph Low and Lena de Grummond, as well as dummies, original illustrations and color separations for three books. The correspondence offers some interesting insights into Low's personality, such as his loathing for public-speaking, while the illustrations and separations help demonstrate the production process of book illustration. Not uncommonly, the illustrations bear the notations of either Low or the publisher, and those notes serve as a kind of indirect guide for those wishing to know how the illustrations and separations were married to the author's text.

Related Collection

The Howard Liss Papers (DG0621)

Series and Subseries

A. Correspondence (1966-1968)

B. Books (1964-1968)

C. Miscellaneous

Box Inventory


A. Correspondence (1966-1968)

1/1 Letters from Joseph Low to Lena de Grummond, 6 items (6 Aug 66, 15 Aug 66, 8 Sept 66, 19 Dec 67, 22 Feb 68, 7 May 68).

B. Books (1964-1968)

FRICTION by Howard Liss, illustrated by Joseph Low (New York: Longman, 1968). 1/1 Dummy, 46 pp; Ink illustrations and typeset text, pp. 4-49, 13 items; 1/2 Ink illustrations and typeset text, pp. 30-47, 7 items; 1/3 Color separations, pp. 2-46, 46 items; SPIDER SILK by Augusta R. Goldin, illustrated by Joseph Low (New York: Crowell, 1964). 1/4 Illustrations and text, pp. 1-40, 20 items; 1/5 Color separations, pp. 1-39, 37 items. ST. NICHOLAS AND THE TUB by Brian Burland, illustrated by Joseph Low (New York: Holiday House, 1964). 2/1 Original ink illustrations with text: front and back book jacket, pp. 1-36, 34 items; 2/2 Color separations: front and back book jacket (6 items), pp. 1-36 (38 items); 2/3 Typeset text, pp. 1-36, plus photograph of original title page.

C. Miscellaneous

2/4 "Occasional Pot-pourri from Joseph Low" published flyer, 1972. (1 item), Aesop: Selected Fables translated by Roger L'Estrange, ill. By Joseph Low; Eden Hill Press, 1967 Signed and numbered (#75) print from the book Christmas card designs Original designs by Low (printed cards) 2 items.

Processed: April 28, 1995
Revised: June 2001

Biographical Sketch | Scope & 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
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