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Leonard Weisgard Papers

Identifier: 2010-0050

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)

Custodial History

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.

Acquisition Information

The Leonard Weisgard Papers were donated by his children Abigail, Christina and Ethan Weisgard in 2009.

Separated Material

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

Beloved friend

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

Calf, goodnight

Child Jesus

Children's digest


Clean pig

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)

Elephant's child

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

Growing Time

Gulliver's Travels

Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color

Half-as-Big and the Tiger


Hawaiian Myths of Earth, Sea, and Sky


High Trail

How the Leopard Got his Spots

How the Rhinocerus Got His Skin

Important book

Indoor noisy book (2c.)

Java Jack

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

Lighthouse (painting)

Like Nothing at All

Little Chicken

Little Eskimo

Little Frightened Tiger

Little Island

Little Joe

Little lost Squirrel

Little Woodcock

Look at the Moon

Louis of New Orleans

MacMillan Science life series vol. 1

Magic ringlet

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

Nannabah's Friend

New Haggada for the Pesah Sader

Night before Christmas

Noisy book

Noon balloon

Nursery Tales (2c.)

On the Sand Dune

One God: The Ways We Worship Him


Pedro of Santa Fe

Pelican Here, Pelican There

Penguin's Way

Peter Rabbit

Peter's Brownstone House

Pick the Vegetables

Picture Book of Musical Instruments

Pilgrim Thanksgiving

Plymouth Thanksgiving

Pup called Cinderella

Pussy Willow

Quiet noisy book

Rabbit story

Racoon and Mrs. McGinnis

Rain Drop Splash (2c.)

Red Light Green Light

Round the Afternoon

Salt Boy

Scarab for Luck

Scarlet letter

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

Su An

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

Valentine cat

Wake Up and Goodnight (2c.)

Whale's Way

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

White Bird

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

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.

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