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Marie Lawson Papers

Identifier: 2002-0127

Scope and Content

The collection contains research notes, handwritten and typed manuscript drafts, carbon copies, dummies, and colored illustrations for one published and a number of apparently unpublished works by Marie Lawson. This includes complimentary correspondence, various draft versions, and an early dummy for her book Strange Sea Stories: Legends, Lore, and Superstitions of the Mysterious Waters which was issued late in 1955, a few months before Mrs. Lawson's death. The unpublished material takes several formats: short stories, poems, an essay, and a longer work arranged as a daily almanac. The preliminary title for this work is While the Earth Remaineth: an Almanac of Country Life and Lore. Proceeding from her compilation of "odd bits" of subject material, to a rough draft, and then a more polished version for some of the calendar months, one can observe the author's writing process. There are four colored illustrations in the collection that do not have an obvious connection to any of the manuscripts. Except for the correspondence, the material in the collection is undated.


  • undated, 1955-1956


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.


Author and illustrator Marie Abrams Lawson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1894. She was educated at the Sweet Briar Institute in Virginia, and studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. Marie maried fellow student Robert Lawson in 1922, and the young couple moved out of the city to Westport, Connecticut, the following year.

The Lawsons decided that each of them would design a greeting card a day until the mortgage on their new home was paid off, a goal they reached in less than three years. Marie subsequently turned to free-lance illustrating for adult and children's magazines, and then in about 1930 began to write and illustrate books.

Following several years in New York City at the beginning of the Depression, the Lawsons returned to Westport in 1936 and built their home at Rabbit Hill. The house was surrounded by gardens and had an adjoining studio in which husband and wife worked at easels facing each other. They enjoyed sailing on Long Island Sound and vacationing on Nantucket Island. Her twin loves of gardening and the sea are evident in much of Mrs. Lawson's work.

She wrote and illustrated four books for young people (Hail Columbia, Dragon John, The Sea is Blue, and Strange Sea Stories) and authored a volume for Random House's Landmark Series of juvenile histories. Many of her stories are simple retellings of old legends or fanciful tales, and her illustrations have a gentle, two-dimensional quality. Her distinctive black and white decorations add grace and beauty to the five volume botanical series by Vernon Quinn.

Marie Lawson died 13 June 1956 in Norwalk, Connecticut. She was survived by her husband Robert Lawson, the Newberry and Caldecott Award-winning children's author and illustrator.


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Language of Materials



Marie Lawson, resident of Westport, Connecticut, was an author and illustrator of books for young people. The collection contains research notes, drafts, dummies, and illustrations for her Strange Sea Stories and a number of apparently unpublished works.


Series I: Strange Sea Stories , 1955

Series II: Unpublished Works, undated

Custodial History

The collection was originally donated to the Westport Public Library, Westport, Connecticut.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to Archives & Special Colleactions by Maxine Bleweis, director of the Westport (Connecticut) Public Library, in October 2002.

Related Material

Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to children's literature and associated artwork. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the Reading Room desk.


Book Review Digest, 1936: 284; 1937: 805-806; 1943: 427, 478; 1946: 481; 1950: 541; 1956: 553.Current Biography, 1941: 498-500.Hoffman, Miriam, and Eva Samuels. Authors and Illustrators of Children's Books: Writings on their Lives and Works. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1972: 256-267.Jones, Helen L. Robert Lawson, Illustrator: A Selection of his Characteristic Illustrations. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., [1972]: 109-110.New York Times, June 14, 1956: 33; May 28, 1957: 33.Publisher's Weekly, 170: July 16, 1956: 222.Viguers, Ruth Hill, Marcia Dalphin, and Bertha Mahony Miller, comp. Illustrators of Children's Books 1946-1956. Boston: Horn Book, 1958: 145.Wilson Library Bulletin, 31: September 1956: 34.
Marie Lawson Papers
Archives & Special Collections staff
2003 March
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US