Leonard Weisgard Papers
Scope and Content
The Leonard Weisgard Papers document a life in art: dance, set and costume design, painting, illustration, and writing. Some personal items document his family life with cards written to and from his wife and children along with items from his early school life. The bulk of the collection consists of artwork created for monographs written by Weisgard and others, most notably Margaret Wise Brown.
- Creation: undated, 1937 - 2000
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.
Leonard Joseph Weisgard (December 13, 1916 - January 14, 2000)
Leonard Weisgard, Caldecott award-winning illustrator of more than 200 children’s books was perhaps best known for his collaboration with the author Margaret Wise Brown. Weisgard was born in New Haven, Connecticut but spent much of his early childhood in England, where his father originally came from.
His interest in the quality of children’s books began after his family moved back to the USA when he was 8. As a schoolboy in New York, he was dissatisfied with the books supplied by the public schools he attended. He found the illustrations monotonous and thought that the world could not be all that dreary and limited to only one color. He went on to study art at the Pratt Institute and the New School for Social Research, where he was influenced by primitive cave paintings, Gothic and Renaissance art and avant-garde French illustrators of children’s books of the 1920s.
Leonard Weisgard also studied dance with Martha Graham and worked in the field of window display. He began his career making illustrations for magazines such as Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker, and Harper’s Bazaar.
His first book, Suki, the Siamese Pussy, was published in 1937, followed by an adaptation of Cinderella. In 1939 the first of more than two dozen collaborations with Margaret Wise Brown was published, The Noisy Book. Their 1947 book, The Little Island, which Brown wrote under the pseudonym Golden MacDonald, won the Caldecott Medal for best-illustrated children’s book. Weisgard also collaborated with other children’s book writers and wrote books he illustrated himself, sometimes under the pseudonym “Adam Green".
Leonard Weisgard married Phyllis Monnot> in 1951 and they had three children, Abigail Weisgard (1952), Christina Weisgard (1954) and Ethan Weisgard (1957). Leonard and Phyllis often worked together creating set and costume designs with Leonard sketching and Phyllis making patterns so the designs could become a reality. He designed the stage sets and costumes for several productions of the San Francisco Ballet, including The Dryad and The Nutcracker. During the years he lived in Roxbury, Connecticut, Weisgard was deeply involved with children's education. He lectured extensively and worked closely with The American Library Association.
Leonard Weisgard moved to Denmark with his wife and children in 1969 where he lived for the rest of his life. His children and grandchildren (Ethan and Midoriko's son Yuji and daughter Nanami) all live in Copenhagen.
"Books", he once said in an interview, "have always, for as long as I can recall, been a source of real magic in this wildly confusing world."
187 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The Leonard Weisgard Papers document the creative processes of this award-winning author and illustrator, with his book art, commercial and promotional illustration, correspondence, and an extensive reference material series. The collection was donated in 2009 by Weisgard's children, Abigail, Christina and Ethan, all of whom reside in Denmark.
Series I: Artwork(undated, 1939 - 1989)
Series II: Manuscripts, Notes, Articles, Speeches(undated)
Series III: Correspondence(undated, 1946 - 2000)
Series IV: Financial Documents (undated, 1938 - 1999)
Series V: Journals (undated)
Series VI: Book Dummies (undated, 1937 - 1989)
Series VII: Periodicals, Coloring Books, Calendars, Clippings (undated, 1931 -1 990)
Series VIII: Greeting cards, Mementos and Keepsakes, Notes (undated)
Series IX: Reference Clippings A-Z, Magazine Covers, Book Jackets, Printed pages, Scrapbook (undated)
Series X: Photographs (undated)
Series XI: Ephemera (undated)
The majority of the Leonard Weisgard Papers remained with his daughter Abigail Weisgard in Copenhagen, Denmark, following his death in 2000. The collection was shipped to the University of Connecticut in the summer of 2009 and deeded to the Northeast Children's Literature Collecton by Abigail, Christina, and Ethan Weisgard. Additional materials for books documenting the relationship between Leonard Weisgard and Margaret Wise Brown donated at the same time to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Illustration in Amherst, MA. These works included materials for Rain, Drop, Splash, Pelican here, pelican there; Mr. Peaceable paints; the Golden egg book; the Golden bunny; Funny bunny factory; the Quiet noisy book; the Summer noisy book; Little frightened Tiger; Whistle for the train; the Important book; Dark Wood of the golden birds; Nibble, nibble; andRed light, green light.
The Leonard Weisgard Papers were donated by his children Abigail, Christina and Ethan Weisgard in 2009.
The following materials have been separated from the Weisgard Papers. For access ask at Reference Desk:
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
And it came to pass
Aventures de cent huit lapins
Baby Elephant and the secret wishes
Beach before breakfast
Baby Elephant and the Secret Wishes
Best in Children's Books, vols. 1, 3, 6, 8, 12, 14, 16, 19, 34
Big book of train stories
Big Treasure book of nursery tales
Book about God
Brave baby Elephant
Bucky Bear who would not take his nap
Comical tragedy or Tragical comedy of Punch and Judy
Country Noisy Book
Courage of Sarah Noble
Cozy hour story book: endearing read aloud stories for ages 4 to 7
Cynthia and the Unicorn
Dark wood of the golden birds
Den Hemmelige Flod
Do You Want to Hear a Secret?
Doctor Proctor and Miss Merriweather
Down Huckleberry Hill
Down Huckleberry Hill (artwork)
Family Mother Goose
Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Norway
Favorite Poems: New and Old
Fins and Tails: A Story of Strange Fish
First Days of the World
First Doll in the World
First farmers in the Stone Age
First People in the World (2c.)
French are coming
Giving Away Suzanne
Golden birthday book
Golden bunny book
Golden Christmas tree
Golden egg book (2c.)
Good Hunting Little Indian
Grab Bag: Stories for Each and Everyone
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color
Half-as-Big and the Tiger
Hawaiian Myths of Earth, Sea, and Sky
How the Leopard Got his Spots
How the Rhinocerus Got His Skin
Indoor noisy book (2c.)
Journey to Jericho
Just Like Me
Let's Play Train
Life Long Ago The Beginning of Cities: Recreation in Pictures and Text of Mesopotamian Life from Farming to Early City Building
Life Long Ago The First Farmers: Recreation in Pictures and Text of Life in the Stone Age
Like Nothing at All
Little Frightened Tiger
Little lost Squirrel
Look at the Moon
Louis of New Orleans
MacMillan Science life series vol. 1
McCall's Read Me a Story Book
Midnight Alarm: The Story of Paul Revere's Ride
Mon Grand Livre D'images
Most beautiful tree in the world
Mouse and the Lion
Mrs. Goose's Green Trailer
My Book of Prayer: Sabbath and Weekdays
My First Picture Book
Mystery Tales for Boys and Girls
New Haggada for the Pesah Sader
Night before Christmas
Nursery Tales (2c.)
On the Sand Dune
One God: The Ways We Worship Him
Pedro of Santa Fe
Pelican Here, Pelican There
Peter's Brownstone House
Pick the Vegetables
Picture Book of Musical Instruments
Pup called Cinderella
Quiet noisy book
Racoon and Mrs. McGinnis
Rain Drop Splash (2c.)
Red Light Green Light
Round the Afternoon
Scarab for Luck
Seashore noisy book (2c.)
The Search for God (painting)
See Along the Shore
Señor Baby Elephant the Pirate
Shepherdess of France: Rememberances of Jeanne d' Arc
Silly Willy Nilly
Sir Kevin of Devon
Snowflake and starfish
Something About the Author: Autobiography
Something for Now, Something for Later
Stories of God: readings from the Gospel according to St. Mark
Stories of Love
Story of Valentine
Suki: The Siamese Pussy
Summer noisy book
Sylvester Jones and the Voices in the Forest
Timid Timothy: The Kitten Who Learned to Be Brave
Treasures to See
Try and Catch Me
Try on a Shoe
Under the greenwood tree
Wake Up and Goodnight (2c.)
What Makes a Bird?
When a Boy Goes to Bed at Night
When a Boy Wakes Up in the Morning
When I Go to the Moon (2c.)
Where Did Tuffy Hide?
Where Does the Butterfly Go When it Rains?
Whistle for the Train
Who Dreams of Cheese?
Who Ever Heard of Kangaroo Eggs?
Whose Little Bird am I? (2c.)
Winter noisy book
Would you Like to Be a Monkey?
Wreath of Christmas legends
Genre / Form
- Financial Records
- Galley proofs
- Illustrations (layout features).
- Publications (documents)
- School Records
- Speeches (documents)
- Works of Art
- Manuscripts (document genre)
- Connecticut (state)
- Copenhagen (inhabited place)
- New Haven (inhabited place)
- New York (State)
- Roxbury (inhabited place)
- Leonard Weisgard Papers
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2010 December
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- This finding aid was prepared with generous support from the Northeast Children's Literature Endowment.